Wednesday, December 5, 2012


J Crew style
When we first got married, my husband only wore J. Crew, only bought home goods from Pottery Barn, kitchen appliances only from Williams Sonoma, etc - you get the point? He knew he had a conservative yet preppy style, and it worked for him. That is until we started living day-in-and-out together and I opened up his horizons to Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Target, Thrift Stores, Antique shops and so much more! I guess you can say I'm a little "eclectic" (def : one who uses a method or approach that is composed of elements drawn from various sources). It goes with my free-spirited personality. My husband reigns me in to make sense of it all.

Needless to say, Joe's one-stop-shop method got opened up to a whole new horizon when our family outings included shopping in San Francisco. He never knew you could have so much fun shopping in San Fran until he met me (I'm taking credit for his now amazing sense of style too). God sure knows what he's doing when he puts people together, right? He did with us. We bring out the good in each other.

Back to purging- so we have been married for 5 years come March and our home represents that morphing and meshing of styles. (I'll have to do a post to show picts of our home later.) As the days go by, we have started accumulating items that we would say are more "us" now instead of "him" or "me" and with that comes the need to purge our home of the "him" and "me" items (even though I'm better at purging the "him" items- ha). [Side note: he's now glad I saved my 6 cheerleading uniforms (which have gone through 3 moves) cause Izzy got to wear my cheer vest from 7th grade for halloween this year! Glad I didn't give that one up- but I know he's waiting for the day when I get rid of my urban outfitter comforter from my college days- it's still sitting in our linen cabinets- confession: I can't do it]

So, we go through rooms and start picking items that have been bugging us for a while. The biggie on this list was our dining room table. Joe bought it with me in tow while we were engaged and I let him do his thing. We got a great table that fit in "our" soon to be home and it worked. Fast-forward almost 5 years and that table we loved which has seen many family dinners, and carries great memories- sticks out like a glove in our dining room which is the first thing you see when you walk in our door. So, we decided our Christmas family gift (we always try to do one big family gift a year, typically a home item) was going to be a new dining room table. The only way to make that happen is to make space for the new one (which I'm super excited about- again, I'll have to do another post on that later) is to get rid of the old. We posted the table for a great price and it sold in one day to a lovely family who just had a little baby named Jude and they thought Judah was pretty cool.

Good memories of the train table, but glad it's gone. 
Next item to go, was our well-loved Thomas the Train table. I originally bought it for my train-lover little man off of craigslist for $50 and we sold it to a lovely family for $100 (I pretend I'm a wheeler and dealer) making a profit of $50. We are redoing our playroom and that train table (though well-loved) took up too much space, plus we have to make room for Christmas gifts that they will obtain from family members who think they are the world.

There were a few more exchanges of other random items we had laying around the house that haven't been getting much love, so we sold them, put a little cash in our wallet, and became content with what we have been blessed to acquire. It feels really good to get rid of things! Try it sometime.

Everyday Desire:
1. After writing this I realized I'm not taking enough pictures in this season of my life. I need to take more photos. I think blogs are more interesting to read with great you?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Grateful for MOPS . . .

Honestly, if you asked me a year ago, I never would have even considered attending a MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) group, let alone lead one. I guess you can say, God has bigger plans (if you believe in the spiritual stuff- which I do). I heard the name thrown around a few times here and there, but never took the time to really see what it was all about. That is until my aunt hooked me up with Elizabeth (who is very involved in a MOPS group at another local church) and she wanted to introduce Capital to this awesome organization and reach more moms with a deeper connection. I really believe our meeting opened my eyes to see things a little differently. Then, upon her invitation, I actually attended a meeting and really got something out of it.

My background with moms started when Judah was 6 months old and I had to get out of the house. I wanted friends that desired the same thing and thought maybe our kids could be friends, and then maybe we could talk about mom stuff and have an outlet for stir-crazy days. Capital MOMS was birthed at that time and since we have been going strong, yet hearing the need and desire for more mom time.

[There are a bunch of details I'm leaving out, cause I don't want to bore you- but all this to say- we are launched MOPS in September 2012]

I love the women I'm surrounded by! I love seeing God birth creativity and passion to reach moms with hope, deeper relationships, and making sure no one gets left behind. The PLUNGE them couldn't be more perfect for our semester launch either- because we are doing just that- we are diving in, all the way, submerging ourselves to gain a better understanding of God, taking some extra breaths (a little time away from our kids because there is childcare!), eating some good food, and going deep with moms in our community (not just at Capital- we want to reach moms everywhere who need the break and encouragement)!

We are close to wrapping up our first semester and I'm already in awe at what God has accomplished. I see friendships being made, I see posts on Facebook about playdates that never would have occurred before, I hear about mentor moms speaking life to specific needs of moms at every table - I see laughter, joy and hope for better days ahead!

Even on those days when I feel wiped out, walking into a room full of women at various breaking points on their own journey's reminds me all over again why we do what we do.

Photos courtesy of
Today, looking ahead to this week of Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for MOPS and for our leadership team that has Plunged with me to make a difference in our community. I'm grateful that moms trust us with their time and children and show up each week. I'm thankful.

God is way bigger than my dreams, he is the creator of them!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

One on One with Mary Jacobs

We were privileged to host Mary Jacobs at the last Capital MOMS brunch. She is a wife, mother of three, and a teacher at Capital Christian High School. Talk about experience. She's got it. I don't think I'm speaking for myself when I say I walked away with some great goals and reminders! I hope (if you weren't able to make it) that you find this somewhat helpful or encouraging.

Psalm 13
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

Sometimes being a mother of little babies/preschoolers can feel lonely. We have to choose to believe the Word of the Lord. We can get stuck in a cycle of "assumicide" or "presumiscide"- presuming things about others and it just kills/drains us. We don't know what's going on in the lives of our friends. Don't live life alone. When we catch ourselves going down that road, grab a friend and God's word and begin to pray the scripture. We need freedom (and have to give the freedom to others) to not be perfect. You will have more freedom when you aren't comparing yourself to another. The way to get back on track is through prayer and time with God. Even if you're prayer conversations sound like this sometimes:

Interesting Conversation with God.Author- Unknown, from a forwarded email (Mary says sorry she can't find the author's name)

Me: God, can I ask you a question?
God: Sure.
Me: Promise you won't get mad?
God: I promise.
Me: Why did you let so much stuff happen to me today?
God: What do you mean?
Me: Well, I woke up late.
God: Yes.
Me: My car took forever to start.
God: Okay.
Me: At lunch they made my sandwich wrong and I had to wait.
God: Hmmm.
Me: On the way home my phone went dead just as I picked up a call.
God: Okay.
Me: And on top of all that, when I got home I just wanted to soak my feet in my new foot massager and relax, but it wouldn't work!!! Nothing went right today! Why did you do that?
God: Well, let me see. The Death Angel was at your bed this morning and I had to send one of the other angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.
Me: (humbled): OH...
GOD: I didn't let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.
Me: (ashamed)
God: The person who made your first sandwich today was sick and I didn't want you to catch what he has.
I knew you couldn't afford to miss work.
Me: (embarrassed): Ok...
God: Your phone went dead because the person who was calling was going to give false witness about what you said during that call. I didn't even let you talk to them so that you would be covered.
Me: (softly) I see, God.
God: Oh, and that foot massager had a short that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn't think you wanted to be in the dark.
Me: I'm sorry God.
God: Don't be sorry, just learn to trust me in all things, the good and the bad.
Me: I will trust you.
God: And don't doubt that MY plan for your day is always better than your plan.
Me: I won't, God. And let me just tell you God, thank you for everything today.
God: You're welcome, child. It was just another day being your God, and I love looking after my children.

Mary shared about her experience with her daughter (now almost 29) being diagnosed at 2 1/2 years old with leukemia while being pregnant with her second child on the way. How do you handle a situation like that? She explained how she was just grateful that she knew God. She remembers sitting on her mom's couch and crying and just thanking God that she knew Him already- because He would carry her through this situation. (I'm not so sure I would have reacted the same way??) She asked the question- Who's kids are they? They are God's. Laura is still an amazing testimony of God's grace, miracles, and His strength. She battled 2 brain tumors this summer and recovered well and is teaching at the preschool. You would never know or guess her struggles - but God is greater. God has carried their family through. Reminds me to be grateful for God's blessings and thank Him daily for good health!

We have the ability to parent from a place of FEAR or from a place of VICTORY. When we parent with victory, there is much more freedom, less tension and joy!  

We also must remember to cultivate the fruits of the spirit in our own lives. We can't say "be kind" to our kids while we are constantly nagging our husbands. We have to practice what we are teaching. We can't make our kids love Jesus. We have to be real and live it our inf front of them. When we live from a place of love, joy, peace, patience . . . they will want to experience what we have.

Above all, we need HIM (period) to live. Pray the scripture over yourself and your kids. You are praying the will of God over them when you prays scripture- because it's HIS Word. Not only should we pray for our own kids, we need to be loving and praying for our friends children as well. God gave the example of leaving the 99 for the 1 who was struggling- it's the same with us today. When we see someone struggling- let's lift each other up in prayer. Prayer is the answer to everything.

Pray with your kids. Inspire them by asking questions. Ask them to think of 3 great things that happened today and thank God for it. (It's ok if they say they love the blue sky- encourage them- God created that- it's beautiful as part of his creation- encourage them in the simple things- it's a start!) Praise God. Give him Thanks. Tell God if you are anxious about something. If you are worried or nervous. Also- be quick to apologize. They learn repentance from us. It softens the home when we are willing to admit we messed up or made a mistake.

Sorry for the long blog. There were just great notes from our time together. Again, hoping you can gain something from this. Let me know what you took away from the brunch!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

K. I. S. S. I. N. G. first comes love, then comes . . .

So in my everyday search on Pinterest, I came across a blog that referenced the idea of making sure you kiss your husband goodbye for work every morning. If you know me, I'm sold when you say the word "kiss." I  had to convince my husband that it was a must though which is why this particular blog stuck out to me. They gave statistics. A man is more successful in life when given a kiss in the morning. I guess this idea has been going around for a bit, but I just discovered it.

Benefits from kissing in the morning:
1. Miss less work because of illness
2. They earn 20 to 30 percent more monthly (** I got Joe hooked here- it's now apart of our morning routine)
3. Fewer auto accidents on the way to work
4. Live about five years more than those who don't even give each other a peck on the cheek
5. Kissing husbands start off the day on a positive note, are less moody 

So, my challenge to you today and everyday, make sure to kiss your husband goodbye! It's good for the soul and your marriage.

Read more about the study here:

I'll have to find the blog I referenced above later- can't seem to find it right now...If you find a good link to the actual study- let me know!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I mentioned in a previous post that I joined my neighborhood bunco group. We each get the joy of bringing an appetizer to the party each month. If you know me, you know I HATE to cook. I know hate is a strong word, but it strongly describes my love for cooking.

Well, Pinterest has become my best friend while trying to come up with ideas for lovely things to create. I think the only bonus of this whole deal is that my family is enjoying the new creations as well. They are my tester audience.

I limit myself a little too - to what I have in my kitchen on the day of the test. This time around it was lettuce and chicken. I found an awesome pin about recreating P.F. Changs lettuce wraps (click for the original recipe) and was bummed when I realized I didn't have all the ingredients. Then I decided to challenge myself to create something as close to the recipe as I could and pray it turned out edible.

Well, not only was it edible, it was quick and easy- and uses most ingredients that I keep stocked in my kitchen.

1. 2 Tablespoons Yoshidas Sweet and Savory Cooking Sauce (I buy it at Costco cause we use it so much!)
2. 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
3. 1/2 Teaspoon White Vinegar
4. Chicken Breasts or Tenderloins (I buy from Coscto)
5. Lettuce (we buy in bulk from Costco- we are on a salad kick these days)
6. 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
7. 1/2 White Onion
8. Oil, Salt, Pepper
Dipping Sauce:
1. Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce (buy in asian aisle at grocery store)- see in the picture to the right...

To make the stir-fry sauce:

  1. Prep the stir fry sauce by mixing Yoshidas, brown sugar, and white vinegar in a small bowl.
To make the chicken stir-fry (copied from the original recipe and modified):
  1. Heat oil over high heat until it glistens, about one minute. Add chopped chicken and saute until mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes with salt and pepper.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium-high. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and then add garlic, onions, and the stir-fry sauce you prepared earlier. Stir-fry everything for about 4 minutes, and remove to a serving dish.
  3. Serve stir-fry with  lettuce and top with dipping sauce.
This was my final product (pictured above) and it was a hit!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

One on One with Joanne Cole

We were privileged to host my Aunt Joanne at the last Capital MOMS brunch. She is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of one and our Women's Ministry Director. Talk about experience. She's got it. I don't think I'm speaking for myself when I say I walked away with some great goals and reminders! I hope if you weren't able to make it, that you find this somewhat helpful or encouraging.

Here is a little recap from my perspective. If you attended and got something else I didn't include, please share! I love how God speaks to each of us in different ways through different people. 

What would you have done differently as a young MOM?
1. Take more time for yourself.
If you don't cut out the time for yourself, nobody else will. You need some alone time to keep sane. And when talking about alone time (this doesn't include 1 minute in the bathroom with kids banging on the door). Get a hobby. Find something that inspires you. Speaking for myself here, I forced myself to join a neighborhood bunco group that meets once a month for some me time. My husband agreed to the terms before I threw it upon him, but each Monday when I get to escape - I feel a little more peaceful. It doesn't hurt that I've taken home some extra cash almost every time too. Maybe that's God's way of telling me I'm doing the right thing by taking some time for ME.
~ Time for yourself even includes time with God. Don't set unrealistic goals. Try a Proverb a day. If today is August 2- read Proverbs 2. Proverbs is the book of wisdom. 

2. Laugh more! 
Not everything in life has to be serious. Yes, you are shaping your little kids minds and challenging them to grow each day, but it's ok to laugh in some moments that could make you cry. I loved Joanne's example about the rafting trip. (If you weren't there on Sunday, ask her to tell you sometime). Life goes by too fast to not find joy and humor in your kids. Even when they embarrass you, just laugh!

3. Give each other a break!
No one is called to be a mom to your child(ren) except you. Instead of judging another for their decision in raising a child, let's begin applauding each other. Let's affirm and encourage each other. 

4. Enjoy each space and phase of development.
Be present at each moment. Stay engaged. Love every moment, because before you know it, they will be graduating high school and college, moving out, and getting married. It's ok to look with excitement to the phases ahead, but once you are there, you can't ever get the past phase back. Know that every season ends. The season of infancy with exhaustion ends. The season with temper tantrums, the terrible 2's and 3's ends. So don't wish it away too fast. **Keep from being weary: You can do anything knowing it's temporary.

What do you feel you did RIGHT as a young MOM?
3 John 1:4  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Point to Note:
Strengths carried to an extreme can become a weakness 

1. Be generous with your time. 
Stay up late for those talks on their schedule. Play outside with them instead of laying on the couch. Take time to create an activity they would enjoy. Go to the park. Sign them up for a sport they would enjoy.  

2. Work hard at being consistent.
Their attitudes will line up with their actions. Character with conduct. Beliefs with behavior. Be consistent even if you feel like you are a nag. How many times did you feel your mom was ever a nag? Don't you respect her now?  Save "no" for what really matters. Say "yes" as much as you can.

3. Take the time to explain "why."
Use opportunities as they come as teaching opportunities. Know too- you don't always have to teach to be a consultant. Pushing in the right direction without forcing. Be honest and open. Kids thrive on honesty and relate to you when you are willing to relate to them.

4. Peace is a great indicator of being where you are supposed to be. 
If your home is chaotic, you just might be out of balance. When there is disruption in the home, it starts affecting attitudes. You can learn when to say "no" to outside things when your home isn't peaceful. 

I'm sure I'm missing something. Regardless, lessons were learned. Growth continues.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Big Boy Undies!

It's time I officially post about my grown up boy! We are completely potty-trained and wearing big boy undies (I say "we" because I feel like I played a little part- but you do realize I've been trained for a while now - ha).  I have to say the truth "when they are ready, they're ready" could never have been more TRUE in our case.

We have had Judah in a potty-training class at preschool since he was 2 (cause they have to be in that class to be apart of school) so he's been exposed to it 3 days a week for a while now- but they don't force your kid to take part till they are ready. I attempted 2 off-weekends of potty training that ended up pretty much unsuccessful because he wasn't ready, and we didn't like being bound at home - plus I didn't want the fight. The first weekend, Judah found places to potty in our house and blamed it on a dog we don't own.  The second, was just an extra load of laundry.

Then, one day around 4th of July weekend he said, "Mom- I've got to go pee. Then, Mom - I've got to go poop." (sorry for the potty talk, but it becomes very normal when you have a 2 year old). And from there on out- he just told me every time, and we haven't had any accidents. Seriously- it was just like it clicked and he decided he wanted to wear big boy undies forever. He's got an amazing bladder that lasts through naps and bedtime. So we are totally saving some money month-to-month now. If you know me, I love to be out-and-about...and he has mastered going potty in restaurants, malls, libraries, starbucks- you get the point- he can go wherever there is a potty!

We did a couple shopping trips for specific "fireman" undies (which are boxer briefs and he thinks they are shorts and wants to wear them in public- he literally laid down on the cement outside the store and begged me to put them on- I so wish I had a photo of that moment! luckily we had matching pjs we convinced him to put on top) and my favorite undies, gap kids (outlets always have great deals- they just wash really well, fit good, and last a whole lot longer- if you were looking for my 2 cents).

Yep- I'm bragging about my kid. He's 2 1/2 (will be 3 in October) and we accomplished a major feet without much work. If you want my advice, don't fight them, just wait till they are ready! (I'm no parenting pro though- we'll see how Izzy does).

My everydays just got a little easier. It's less work using the potty than changing diapers all the time. No more kicking feet! I've got a grown up little man. Time is flying by. On to the next thing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fireman Judah to the rescue . . .

I find it funny how kids go through various themes in life. Judah is so attached to one particular theme at a time. You all know him as my laundry lover, and it's true still, but the passion has faded. Then he became my tractor kid. Then he became my baseball kid. Now, he's my fireman.

Everything can turn into a fire station at any moment. Any object that is long and skinny now becomes a fire pole (pipe cleaners, a clarinet recorder). Any shape that is short and round is now a fire hydrant. Hats are fire helmets. The library only consists of fireman movies and firetruck books. I have to say I love this moment in time. I thrive on his obsessions and his creative imagination. It can make bribery simple or really complex. 

We are attempting potty training again at his will. And his end goal is a new fire station to play with. It's a new motivation. He's starting to request fire stuff over baseball stuff for his coming of age (turning 3) party (even though I might stick with the baseball theme). My mom has a doll house which is his fire station and we can suggest items to fit in his world, but if it's not lined up with what's in his head, it's out the door. He's very specific about what goes in his fire station (I'll have to take a picture). Playdough has become fire hoses, film roles have become hydrants (we suggested salt shakers and it was not approved). 

My little man made me smile most when we came across this toy fire truck at the outlets and it became a real world. He was Fireman Judah and he had a job- to protect and serve (and keep the fire truck clean). 

So enjoy a little glimpse into my world {everyday laine}:

Saturday, June 2, 2012

What Does Your Family Subscribe to in the Summer?

It's summer time, and with that comes an added need to get out of the house. The kids are home, it's hot, and boredom sets in. What do you opt for? I'm trying to figure out where I'll get the most bang for my buck. Any suggestions? These are a few I'm looking into.

1. Fairytale Town Membership:
They have 8 different levels of membership options. To cover my weekday needs, I would only have to pay $40 for an entire year to take Judah & Ireland is free. That's totally worth it. But the drive is about 30 minutes from my house. Judah loves this park- and it has great shade for the summer heat too. Might be worth it. I do have to say we go with Capital MOMS a few times a year too, so it could save money in the long run.

2. Folsom Zoo Membership:
We love the Folsom Zoo. It's about 5 minutes from my house. They have a great park you could pack your lunch and picnic in too. The only catch for me is the train ride. It would be probably and extra $4 every time we would go because Judah would not be able to focus until we went on the train. Decisions, decisions. I do love the area though. We love the Library right there too. Is it worth it? I feel like it could get boring with just me and the two kids. Any one else have a membership here? Cost is $60 for a year! Not bad.

3. Sacramento Children's Museum:
I  have to admit, I did not have a good first experience here, and we haven't been back. But I've got close friends that have memberships and walk there almost weekly from their houses. The company and friendship alone could be worth it. I guess I have to get over myself and my issues with our first experience. My family cost would be $65 (Ireland is free, and we probably wouldn't go with Joe much.) The next tier up is $90 once Ireland turns one and Joe would be included in that too.

4. My Gym:
I'm just adding it on this list in case you aren't familiar with it. I got hooked from a groupon. Then I realized how much I was spending a month ($59) and realized I could probably get way more out of that cost with another membership, which brings me to this blog. I have to say we loved our time at My Gym. I just had to cancel though to save money. That, and Ireland is getting to big to tote around. Their classes are really geared for age groups- so I was only paying for Judah to attend. If you have one child and a good size budget- it's totally worth it. Judah had a blast! So it's not an option for me anymore (we are saving money) but it could be an option for your family.

5. Folsom Aquatic Center:
We drive by this place all the time and it just looks like so much fun! The cost would be $149 for a summer swim season. And they are only open from about 1-6pm. I'm wondering how crowded it is too. It always looks packed in the summer time. Anybody a member? If you are, I would maybe consider crashing your party this summer and joining for some playdates...not sure though- it's a little pricy. Anybody a fan?

6. Capital Christian Center
So- I'm writing this blog at my parents house- and my dad said to include- "You can become a member of Capital for free just by going through Basecamp. It's free...tithing is appreciated..." ha. I just had to include it. I guess I'm kind of the marketing director too- so it makes sense. Capital Kids does offer some great events in the summer too. Check Out Summer Water Wars tomorrow (June 3- click on the link above for pertinent info) or Splat Week. Gotta love it!

7. I know there are other things to do the the summer that are free (splash parks, join Capital MOMS for outings, etc) but thinking still of maybe trying something new and seeing if there is a benefit for being a member.

What does your family subscribe to in the summer time? Any of these above? Let me know, we just might crash in on your party . . .

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My weekend of FIRSTS . . .

My week started off fairly normal. Then I learned that I was turning 29! Yep, that's right. I only have one year left before the BIG 30. I don't really feel freaked out though, cause I'm still told I look like a 16 year old...thanks mom for the baby face. Ha.

"First" number 1.
I turned 29. That's only going to happen once in my life. Yep. On March 31, I became a year older. Thanks to family for spoiling me, friends for all the facebook messages, and my kids for wanting to sing happy birthday over and over and eat sweet treats.

"First" number 2.
We got Judah his first big guy bike with training wheels. He thinks he is so cool. The first day was a little slow just learning how to peddle. But by the second day, you would've thought he'd been riding for months. He loves his new helmet, wears daddy's softball gloves (cause he thinks it makes him cooler), and wants to jump on and go up and down the street all day long. He's growing up too fast.

"First" number 3.
Ireland got to ride in a swing. It was so sweet. She loved every minute of it and Judah loved having the companion. I wish I had the picts to show you, which leads me to number 4.

"First" number 4.
I had to get a new phone because my mic on my old phone had a malfunction. Luckily it was covered under warranty. I thought I backed up my phone this morning before heading into apple, but forgot I had to manually sync my photos and videos because I have too much on my phone and need to go through and organize it all. I only lost 1 weeks worth of stuff...but it had both Judah learning to ride his bike, and Izzy's first swing ride on there...bummer I know...but we can capture it again and pretend it's the first time...=) Good news- I just remembered that I uploaded videos to youtube...(as you'll see above, I luckily have those 2 "firsts" photos, just the videos) This is my fourth phone in about a 2-year span. Between Judah dropping it twice on tile, leaving it on my car and then watching it get run over after I realized where it was, I invested in an Otter Box Defender Case and haven't had any troubles with phones breaking! If you have kids, an Otter Box is definitely worth the investment! Maybe not too fashion forward, but Judah can play games on it, throw it across a room, and it's still brand new underneath the case...gotta love it. Available at REI.

Well, that's the majority of my firsts. But it was definitely an eventful week. And it will continue to be eventful as Easter approaches, and Joe's birthday is on April 10 more celebrating is ahead! I love the spring. I love experiencing new things too. I like to keep my "everydays" interesting.

Till next time.

Monday, March 19, 2012

One on One with Linda Gordon

We had the pleasure of getting to chat one on one with Linda Gordon at our last Capital Moms Sunday brunch. I thought it would be easiest for me to highlight some of her points in this blog vs. trying to type out all my notes on our group page. I hope if you weren't able to make it, that you find this somewhat helpful or encouraging.

I personally took away the theme for the morning by trying to sum it up into this one word "PRAY." I know that this word can seem daunting to some. Growing up in the Christian world my whole life, this word has probably been overused and it has become more of a "rule" than a desire. Also, I know those who are new to faith can look at it from the perspective of "where do I begin?" I think a light bulb clicked in my head when Linda said, "Rest in the fact that you have a RELATIONSHIP with the Lord. It's about your relationship verse making a routine or set aside time." Note: there are different seasons of life. Some seasons can call for routine. I'm in a season where I've got a 2 year old and a 6 month old. While I probably should have them on a routine by now, I don't...and I'm in the "trying to survive" phase of life. Don't get me wrong, I love every moment of survival, but getting up at 6am every morning for devotions just isn't happening.

Linda encouraged us to "Take off the guilt! Take off the how to's, the now to's and what your best friend is doing or what super mom is doing!" I love that fact. I always find it so freeing when I'm not comparing myself to others. What works for you? Do you feel close to the Lord? If not, maybe try something new that works for you. I think some of my best prayer times come when I journal. I don't know what it is, but I must like the action of actually writing things down (instead of getting lost in my head of what I have to do for that day). Journaling just helps me stay focused. Maybe, taking your kids for a walk to the park and talking to God works for you. The point is, do what works for you. Try something verses saying it's too difficult or there isn't enough time in the day. Linda said, "Sometimes it's pray as I go, and sometimes it's God tugging on my heart saying, come spend a little time with me now." I love seems like whenever we take the time to be with God, we are refreshed and our day works a little better than it would've had we not got that time in. It's the constant renewing of our mind.

She suggested a couple tools for praying as well that I think we have listed before on the page. But just in case you missed that, pick up a copy of "The Power of a Praying Parent" by Stormie Omartian or "The Power of a Praying Wife" by Stormie Omartian. Both are great tools that give you verses to pray over your kids or husband by topics.

Linda reminded us that though we are moms, we were first wives. I loved this line she said she learned after 39 years of marriage, "I can tell him anything once before it becomes nagging. Nothing will improve your husbands hearing more than praise! Be grateful!" She also reminded us that men don't think like us. We need to always feel the freedom to ask our husbands for help! They might not know we need it. Swallow your pride and ask them to help in a few areas. We can remind them too, when we get their help, it frees us up to give "favors" back in return...(if you know what I mean)...

Well, there was so much more to the conversation. I wish I had taken some video...but in the moment I totally forgot. We are going to have to make a habit of doing these brunches with mentors. I left feeling encouraged and revitalized. It's always good to be in the presence of God!

I'll leave you with this video that she mentioned on the topic of "discipline." Even in nature it is natural to discipline...this mother polar bear sticks her baby cub on time out...

Let me know if you have any questions...or comment ladies if I missed something that really stuck out to you!


Monday, March 5, 2012

how I explained death to a 2 year old . . .

I hope this doesn't bum you out, but I thought I should probably share my life experiences from the past few weeks. Yep, our life has changed dramatically. My incredible grandfather passed away unexpectedly on Valentine's Day, February 12, 2012. The day started off rather typical. I got the kids ready for daycare/preschool and was off to work. I was sitting in my office when my Aunt was taking a phone call and told me I needed to come into her office and try to get a hold of my dad. At that point, we weren't really sure what was going on, but knew that Grandpa was with the paramedics. After a few moments on the phone with my dad, we got the news that he had officially passed and we were in disbelief.

I left work on a whirlwind and headed to my parents house to be with the family and then we all headed to the hospital to attempt to say our goodbye's. I left the kids at daycare/preschool and pretended to make it a normal day for them. Obviously, Ireland has no clue what's happend. But Judah knew something was up when daddy had come with me to pick him up. We took the kids to Momo & Popo's house thinking it would be a nice distraction- and after several texts/phone calls from so many dear friends who are probably reading this (I can't say thanks enough) we decided to send the kids home with Joe's parents for the night so we could get a full night's sleep and rest and be with my family for "adult" time. Really, I can't say thanks enough to all of you who offered to spend time with the kids...

When we picked Judah up from preschool, we explained to him that Gpa (Great-grandpa) had gone up to heaven to be with Jesus. His immediate response was, "I want to go to heaven and play with Jesus too!" We told him he wasn't going to get to see Gpa anymore, but we could look at lots of pictures and videos we have of him and it would make us smile. Judah is a pretty curious kid and he likes to ask lots of questions. We tried to keep his routine pretty normal, but with all the family get-togethers, dinners, services, people constantly around us, he knew something was up. Especially because GG (Great-grandma) was with us and he couldn't understand why Gpa wasn't there too. So pretty much every time we see GG- he asks for Gpa...and we ask Judah right back, "Where do you think Gpa is?" and he'll say, "He's in heaven playing with Jesus." or "He's in heaven playing his trumpet." It's probably a daily routine with him right now. But it's one that I cherish. Because you know that he loved and misses Gpa as much as we do and he keeps his legacy alive.

We didn't get together as often as we should have with Gpa, but when we did, Judah was sure to have a blast. Gpa would get down on his hands and knees and play "tractors" with him. He would play his trumpet for him whenever he asked. He watch goofy youtube videos with him on his computer, shared ice cream with him, commented on every facebook post with Judah (or commented to me via text), and was always so proud of our little 2 year old. There aren't too many great-grandpa's that I know that would crawl around on the ground with a 2 year old. He lit up the few times we surprised him for a visit at church and would take us to lunch and spoil us rotten! Those memories I will forever cherish.

When he sees balloons, Judah thinks of Gpa in heaven (we sent balloons to him- it just seemed like a practical way to reach heaven to a 2 year old). We were given a flower to plant in honor of Gpa and we see it everyday as we drive out of the driveway and Judah mentions that it's his flower for Gpa. I was getting stuff together to get out of the house this morning when Judah comes to me with a paper in his hand saying, "Mommy, it's Gpa, it's Gpa!" and he shows me a christmas newsletter with Gpa's picture he found in our office at home. We'll have to keep that newsletter tradition alive still to show of the great-grandkids as they continue to grow.

It's the little things in life, like trying to explain heaven to a 2 year old that increases your faith. It makes you think, "Do I really believe all this stuff about heaven"...and the awe and amazement that I see from him, the purity and innocence and of course the Bible- make it oh so real. With Easter being right around the corner, we've been reading Bible books about Jesus rising from the dead and going to heaven. With excitement - Judah says, "Jesus is going to see Gpa"...and we'll say...yep, Jesus and Gpa get to hang out all the time, and they are looking out for us. Don't be naughty, cause Gpa can see you...=)

We get to pray together every night before bed, and I always ask Judah who he wants to pray for. We go through the typical list of family members, friends, and people we saw that day and we get to talk to Jesus. The night after the memorial service, the first person Judah asked to pray for was GG (Great-grandma). This was a first. I asked him why he wanted to pray for her, and he said, "So she isn't sad anymore." We must have told him she might be sad, because he hasn't seen her cry or anything like that. But his sensitive little heart wanted to cover her in prayers. So, so sweet. Again, these moments make my heart smile.

There is so much more I could write in honor of my Grandpa. I think we are still a little in shock. It's going to be more real around the holidays and birthdays when we get together and our grandpa isn't there to make us laugh and tell us how proud he is. We know he still is, and we are so grateful for his life and for all those that he touched.

Here is a preview of a rare moment that I got to catch on video by accident. Moments like these either make me tear up a little or puts a huge smile on my face because the impact Gpa had was so huge in my life and even in my 2-year old's. It's not the greatest video because I was trying to catch Ireland playing with her bottle holder and she wasn't cooperating-but I thought I'd share it so you could see his authentic excitement:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Zick Experiment . . .

Not too long ago Caitlin Zick and I were hanging out talking mom talk while our kids were playing at the park after a Capital MOMS event. As we were catching up on life, she told me about her last date with Cole. She explained to Cole how every mom desires to have some alone time in the aisles of Target (well almost every- I'm sure there are some exceptions to the rule). Trying to please his wife, he came up with a great date idea. They headed to target with one goal in mind. Each had $10 to spend on each other in a 30 minute time period. (If you think about it - it's the basic cost of going to a movie but a little more memorable.) Then they were to meet back at the Starbucks in the front of the store and exchange gifts. Cole ended up getting Cait a new shirt and she got him a new DVD to add to his collection. They both were thrilled with the surprise gifts and it made for a great way to express love, appreciation and just enjoy time spent together.

That date idea sounded like so much fun, I thought we should give it a whirl. We were out for dinner and a movie (we had a gift card from Christmas) and had a few minutes to kill and there just happened to be a Target within walking distance. So I gave Joe the challenge and he accepted. We set the rules for $10 in 10 minutes (we had a limited time before the movie started) and we were off. Confession: I actually got distracted in the first minute in the dollar spot with items for the kids and had to remind myself what I was there for.

I've been thinking about what I would get Joe in Target ever since my conversation with Cait. Literally the only items I've ever bought for him from this store were necessities. I've bought food, deodorant, cleaning supplies (yes for him not for me), shaving gel and that's about it. I could think of several items to get for myself (aren't we all so selfish in nature) and for the kids, but I was having the hardest time with him. If you know my husband at all, he kind of has expensive taste (sorry babe). He doesn't really tend to buy knick knack things and if he ever wanted anything- he would just go out and get it for himself. I wracked my brain. Do I get him a new book? (We used to enjoy reading before kids) Do I get him some type of workout paraphernalia? (He's kind of into that right now) I could get him a card? (But I would need more than 10 minutes to write something good in it to make it worthwhile for this experiment). Should I go to the clothing section? (He loves clothes, but I didn't have enough time to go through the target racks).

So, in my lame attempt to grab something special I hijacked Caitlin's idea to get a movie. (I don't know the last time I've ever bought a movie. Joe really doesn't have a movie collection he's aspiring to create- but I went with it.) We had talked at dinner about how we both had wanted to see the movie "Moneyball" with Brad Pitt. We missed it while it was in the theaters and it just came out on dvd. If you are thinking ahead, you are right. As a new release it was over the $10 budget. So not only did I hijack Caitlin's idea for her husband, I went over the limit for the experiment. Good news is - I have the Target debit card so I saved 5% (still didn't hit the spending limit) but I convinced Joe I did my best. He seemed authentically happy with my purchase. Hopefully it's a good movie. He was into baseball growing up- that was his sport- so it should be at least semi-interesting.

I have to admit- my husband more than passed on the experiment for me. I got to take home some new note cards and a super cute package of journals that I totally would have picked out. He then went on to brag that he finished the whole thing in 2 minutes time. I tried to justify his greatness with the fact that Target is way easier to shop for women than men- and then I gave up and realized that he's just great no matter what the circumstances.

Regardless, we had a fun time with the Zick Experiment and I would highly suggest testing it out yourself. You will be surprised with what you come up with I'm sure. If you do test it out- comment back on here and let me know what your purchase was!

Enjoy your next date night and make sure to stop by Target!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rare and Beautiful Treasures

Do you freak out when things don't go as planned? How do you respond to the unknown?

I don't always understand why life happens the way it does, but I'm super grateful for my supportive family and a God who has it all figured out and cares about our unique situations.

I can distinctly remember two incidents in my married life when it seemed like we lost everything. The first occurred right before I had Judah and the second right before Ireland. I think God liked messing with my already hormonal self during both pregnancies.

Joe was blessed with the ability to purchase his first home before we got married. It was (what we thought at the time) our dream home. We had all the upgrades, space and luxury that we wanted. There was so much room we couldn't even fill the house with the stuff we had. We were doing our best to budget our money wisely, tithe, and save for furniture items to complete our lavish home. That's when the economy decided to take a turn and the job that was providing for us became a little dry.

My mom had given me a cd on continuing to put your trust in God with your money and there was a verse that stuck out to me that I decided to cling to. Proverbs 24:4 "through wisdom and knowledge a home is filled with rare and beautiful treasures" (I paraphrased)...but decided to make it a prayer of mine through the hard times. It was our first year of marriage, and what we thought would be an easy street turned out to be financially difficult. We were warned in premarital counseling that finances can be tricky in a marriage but neither of us had any issues prior to being married. The story is long and I could go into more detail, but we ended up losing our home and moving into a townhouse 2 weeks before I had Judah. I was super pregnant and hauling items up and down stairs (I thought for sure it was going to induce me- but I ended up being late and getting induced in the hospital- it was a great experience and a whole other blog)...all of this to say- I ended up rocking Judah in the middle of the night in our new townhouse when I heard God say (not audibly but in my head)- "Laine- I have filled your home with a rare and beautiful treasure- I've been listening- your prayer is answered"...Yep, I cried as I sat there with my little man in my arms thinking how amazing God was and how his answers were far better than mine.

Now, fast forward 2 years, I was 9 months pregnant with Ireland when I got a phone call from Joe that he was let go from what we thought again was a dream job. It was a whirlwind of emotions. We had just switched all of our health insurance over to Joe's job, our gas was covered and we had a steady income. We luckily had been meeting with a financial planner a few months prior to this experience and had a emergency fund together- and for some strange reason- I just had a complete peace during the whole situation. Here we were about to welcome our second child into our family not quite sure how all of our financial needs would be met. We both clung to the fact that God was in control and must have better plans.

We are so blessed by Joe's job offer a month later - and I'm so grateful that God always provides at the right time. He literally allowed Joe to be home with me during the last month of being extremely prego with a wild, active 2 year old. Joe was able to say home with me for two weeks after Ireland was born and started his new job on October 10. It's just crazy how when I don't stress out and just cling to what God says in his Word- everything works out for the better!

Fast forward again to Thanksgiving 2011 when I'm up in the middle of the night feeding Ireland on Thursday, November 24 when I scroll threw Proverbs on my phone and read "with wisdom and knowledge a home is filled with rare and beautiful treasures." I couldn't help but wipe the tears from my eyes at 3am just sitting in God's presence thinking- "Wow, God you really have it all under control- I don't have to worry about tomorrow- your ways are far greater than mine and you continue to make me smile as I cling to your truth in times when I could really get bummed out..."

All of this to say (and sorry I'm long winded and on a spiritual talk today), run to God when it doesn't make sense. Run to Him and read TRUTH in His word. He will never leave you or forsake you. His plans are far greater than yours.

My rare and beautiful treasures:

Hope this read encourages you today wherever you are at on your journey! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gymnastics debut . . .

In an effort to get out of the house on Mondays and Fridays (my days at home with the kids) I decided to sign Judah up for gymnastics. We tested out our first class today at Trick's and I have to say it was a HUGE success. Judah loved every minute of it and was quite entertaining to watch. I was a little nervous, cause you never know how a 2 year old can react in various situations. It was either going to be a hit or a major failure . . . Luckily for this experience . . . it was a major hit! This isn't the best pictures, but his smile says it all:

They began with following some simple instructions in circle time, sang a song, then watched a demonstration of various activities to do in the toddler area. Judah's eyes immediately lit up when he saw the teacher climb up a ramp and jump in the foam pit. Needless to say, we spent the next 20 minutes of play time climbing a ramp, jumping in the foam pit, and sliding down the next ramp. He was in toddler gymnastics heaven. These eyes say it all:

We moved from there to free time - climbing foam structures and running down the long trampoline. Then, the next highlights of the day- the teacher drew with chalk on a trampoline and each kid took turns jumping from the square to the circle, singing ring around the rosie and bouncing all around. Judah could hardly wait his turn he was so excited to "perform" for everyone. He enjoyed the applause after completing his turn too.

It's a parent involvement class, so I was carrying Izzy in the bjorn the entire class which worked out well. But Judah decided he wanted to hang out with the teacher more than me (probably cause she could throw him around a little more). His favorite was laying on the parachute and having the teacher slide him down to the center when lifting it up. Then jumping on the bubbles, banging the drum sticks and so much more. The class was structured very well and moved quickly from one thing to the next. We had a great experience for sure. He got stamps on his hands, toes and tummy at the end of the class:
I just bought the Groupon My Gym class so we are going to test that one out next and decide which gym we like more. All I know is that Judah thrives in situations like this. He loves to be active, try new things, and loves the structure of these types of classes (especially since I stay there the whole time too). We made some new friends and we are going to make gymnastics part of our weekly routine now! I would definitely suggest it as a MUST if you like to get out of the house!

Here is Judah jumping with the teacher: