Saturday, August 3, 2013

hey mom, what's your story?

i can't even begin to let you all know how excited i am about MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) this year! with one year under our belt, we are feeling like things are all flowing in the right direction! our leadership team is amazing and unique, comprised of so many incredible woman with unique opinions but a couple things in common: 1. we all love jesus 2. we are all moms and have a passion to encourage, support, and live life with others, not going through motherhood alone!

so, here's my shameless plug, because it's what keeps me up and night and excited in my "spare time" that doesn't really exist.

each year MOPS international comes up with a theme. this year it's "A Beautiful Mess . . . Embrace your Story." Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Everyone has a story right? You probably know a little of mine if you follow my blog, and if  you join MOPS this year, you'll learn more than you ever really cared to know. Regardless, I want to know your story and there are several other moms waiting at your table to hear your's as well! 

our meetings are fun, refreshing, time to fill your bellies with an uninterrupted brunch, talk with other moms, and most importantly some time for yourself (which we know doesn't really happen anymore). we cover various topics from parenting, marriage, health, decor, etc and always leave time to create deeper relationships with those in the room.

check out our invite card

you can read more about the details and dates by clicking on the image or visiting our registration page, click here!

i could go on-and-on, but i'll spare you some curiosity. if you have any questions or want to get connected, comment here or email me at

the first monday is coming up fast! save the date for september 9. i promise you won't leave the same way you came and you'll have lifetime friendships that will help you get through these early stages of parenting.

thanks for reading a little of my everyday life.

you can catch a previous post from last year with some photos of a MOPS meeting here.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

speak your mind

lately i've been trying to evaluate how i come across in various meetings. i naturally am passionate about whatever i encounter. when it comes to work, even more so. i'm not sure if it's because i work for my dad and i love and support what he does, or if it's just some natural inclination i was born with (probably a mix of the two), but regardless my words are strong and sometimes heated (sorry).

there are two staff meetings now which are going down in history for me of "speaking my mind." i'm sure there are several auxiliary meetings with my peers that probably stick out in some of your minds as well. my prideful self thinks that's pretty cool, i'll be remembered for saying it like it is. my humble self says, i could work on some things and grow.

the most recent meeting boiled down (in my head) to "saving money." i want to be a good steward of what we are given. an idea was presented to print stationary envelopes for each department so when mail is returned our volunteer mailroom staff wouldn't have to open up the envelopes to see what's inside, but rather- just pass on the "marked" envelope the the correct department. really, the idea is harmless. but in my mind (knowing numbers and cost of stationary) my heart started beating fast, i got a little sweaty (ha) and spoke up.

i pretty much interrupted one of my favorite people i get the privilege of working with (who was last minute designated the man to present the idea) and started my exhaustive reasonings for why the idea was "ridiculous." the only ok part of this whole thing is that we work together well, and he understood where i was coming from. the worst part was, the entire staff had to witness me strongly discuss, with frustration, my "opinions." it's one of those things you kind of had to be there for, but are glad you weren't. nobody seriously was (i'm hoping) offended. but i walked out thinking, "i probably could have gone about that a little more smoothly."

the good news is, we resolved the stationary issue with a simple added salutation onto labels, and i think all parties are somewhat satisfied.

my frustration really just lies with the "overthinking" of ideas to solve problems. i hate spending money when it's not really needed. and i even stronglier (i know that's not a word) hate the idea that we are sending out so many mass mailers that we are getting such a large volume of returned mail (causing the need to order personalized departmental envelopes - again, just a waste of money and a bad reflection of our poor database [which is getting resolved come august 4, hopefully]) . . . my heart is starting to beat quickly again . . .

the bottom line is (even though I was probably right and justified for my way of thinking), i didn't really come across as being "under control." more or less, as the verse states below, it wasn't very "mature" of me. yeah, I can get away with it, it might even be a little humorous at the time, but it wasn't really the best representation of Christ in me. go ahead and give me the example of Jesus flinging over the tables in the marketplace (ok- I'm being a little melodramatic) but the truth is, i want to GROW. i want to grow in LOVE. i would rather speak in "love" than just be speaking my "mind.

my reflections for the day. have a great holiday weekend!

Ephesians 4:15 (MSG)
God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.

Monday, July 1, 2013

welcome into the world {mel's baby shower}

i love getting to be apart of throwing a baby shower. not only because it means you are welcoming new life into the world, but you celebrate friendships, family and the decorating! i am lucky enough to have grown up in a home that never missed a party. my mother loves to entertain. while setting up for mel's shower, she told us a story of how she served crackers and cheese on her mother's footstool (yes a stinky footstool) to visiting missionaries at the age of 3. she longed to host. she is good at it. and she passed it down to me.

planning showers with two little kids in tow isn't as easy as it used to be (without the kids). that's why we have a TEAM of ladies to help. (from left to right: Amy Sue, Tara, Kristin, Mel (the mommy we celebrated), me with baby Cohen (not mine-ha), Caitlin, and Kellie)
from left to right: Amy Sue, Tara, Kristin, Mel (mommy we
celebrated), me with baby Cohen (not mine-ha),
Caitlin & Kellie)
my friends threw me a shower for Ireland and the coolest part about it was that i was able to take all the decor home and stick it in her room! i seriously thought my friends were genius. so, we decided to go that same direction for Mel. they are naming their baby boy "Brooklyn Jay" and with that decided to go a stylish chevron grey, water soft blue, accents of mustard yellow and maps included.

of course we first went to our nifty pinterest site and created a board for mel's shower (view it by clicking on the link). we had an intial party planning meeting to divy up jobs and we were on our way. a few of my tasks included:
the invitation
chalkboard, books, napkins and the map pinwheels

spray painted botles, created the map "b" and bought the amazing globe off of craigslist for only $20. ps it's vintage 1963 and came with a book to authenticate it. all going in the baby's room.

wrapped the cones in map paper which were then filled up with fruit.

oh, there are so many more details that mel's amazing friends came up with like the pallet board, the table decor, the favors, etc. i can't leave out the banner that the one-and-only aubrey stewart created. the map print outs that we stuck in frames, the mad gab game created for the tables. i guess I'll just have to do a part 2.

another baby shower down. love you mamma melly! excited to "welcome baby brooklyn into the the world" in august!

Monday, June 17, 2013

best vacation ever . . . reality check

it's true. we had one of the best vacations yet! celebrating 5 years of marriage and getting some alone time doesn't really get much better. top it off with great weather, ocean view room, all-inclusiveness (i know that's not a word), we were on a high.

the only problem is, i'm having a hard time getting back into real-world mode. i was able to read two books, eat warm meals, lay out at the pool (without being clung to by a 3 and 1 year old), have uninterrupted conversations with joe, go to the bathroom in peace, and so much more (you know without the kiddos around.)

don't worry, i did miss them! we actually face-timed them every night (technology these days!) but the little moments of quiet, were oh so sweet! i would do it all over again tomorrow! it was actually a nice reality check for joe and i to make sure we get another vacation on the calendar longer than just a weekend getaway (or it won't ever happen.)

did i tell you already, we got a steal of a deal? the trip was 4 nights, 5 days to an all-inclusive resort, "dreams los cabos" for only $399 (total, not per person!) add in airfaire, we only paid $1200 for the trip. well worth the investment! yes, yes, we had to sit through a 90-minute presentation, but it was an easy "no." (you can listen to those details over at our podcast Space Three when it gets posted shortly, pretty funny.)

back to reality it is. i like to think of myself as a free spirit. i see life always with the glass full and spilling over but realizing lately that I let life happen to me instead of really making choices to grow. with that said, things i'm considering doing to make my life more productive because this quote keeps haunting me "by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail" (thanks Benjamin Franklin).

1. creating a schedule for the kiddos on our days home. i have to get in a routine of doing it. i'm searching out ideas on Pinterest but could totally use your help!

2. meal plan anyone? i've been seeing on instagram lately the success of meal planning. one of these days i'm going to jump on the bandwagon. not only to eat healthier, but to save money. gotta do it. can somebody just email me there's? I know there are blogs out there, but i get so overwhelmed. maybe you could come live with my family for a week and help me do it. (again, haunted by the quote above)

3. memory verses with the kids? i saw this genius app on pinterest the other day and i'm totally considering using it with the kids (mainly for myself, but the kids motivation will actually help me do it). check this out (she really sucked me in when talking about how cheesy the book was too...i might have to design one- could be fun project...) the app link only $2.99 in the store- for some reason i was just really pulled into what she had to say. i want my home to be a place where the Bible is spoken often.

to keep it short and sweet (which i never can seem to do) i'll stop with 3 things. those 3 things are HUGE things that will take a lot of work and "preparation" for it to really make it work. even better of a word than "preparation" could be "organization." i seem to be able to get organized at work (to some extent) but i haven't got control over organizing the home yet. like i said, it's what's ahead for me.

back to reality i go. i want to succeed in life. don't you?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Page 23 Vision

I can tend to ramble and give more info than needed, so if you want to get to the good stuff, skip down to "I stood at the Capital MOPS table" . . .

Our church just recently started a small group series called "Sun Stand Still" by Steven Furtick. Joe and I agreed to lead a group this time around after hiding out as newlyweds and then wiped out parents. We both felt like we should at least attempt to make it work in our schedule and we found a group of other amazing people to join us!

So, why did I title this Page 23 Vision? Well, one of the chapters in the book talks about figuring out what your gifts, talents, skill sets, passions are in life and letting God lead you into the impossible with that vision. The author was moved to step up in life after reading a quote from a Jim Cymbala book. The quote was written on page 23. So it just stuck. See it here:
I guess you could say, I was moved and wanted to see God move mightily on my behalf too! I started thinking . . .

I'm in a place in my life right now where reaching young moms, and making sure they don't get isolated and try to live life on their own, is my vision. Having two little kids of my own, I've been on the fine line of going crazy a few times in my life. I'm blessed though, with an amazing family and friends to help me out in those moments of "crazy." Some of my "I'm going crazy and feel alone" moments led me to start Capital Moms. From there, we have ventured into Capital MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) and continue to try to be available for moms in their time of need. Disclaimer- I'm a little extreme in what I tend to pursue. If you are a young mom, even staying a home, that is YOUR calling. There is a line in the book where the author says being a stay-at-home mom is your page 23 vision, because you have been given the "gift of time" to teach, discipline, guide, direct your littles. YOUR calling is going to be different than mine (it could be similar-but you will never be me and I will never be you). God has wired each of us so intrinsically.

Moving on to the good stuff: I've been challenged to see what God could do "impossibly" through me as we have jumped into this study. Well, when you ask, He answers. Here is a little glimpse into God working on the "impossible" in my life:

I stood at our Capital MOPS table at the group life fair on a Sunday at church and was approached by a young new family with an incredible story. They had only come to Capital for about 2 weeks at that point without any church background and walked up to the front for prayer. The husband needed a job, prayed, and 2 days later, he was working as a mechanic at an auto store. They came to church the following week and went up for prayer (with great faith since it worked last time) and prayed to get into permanent/transitional housing from the shelter they were currently staying at. The mother was 9 months pregnant and due in 2 weeks at the time we spoke. They were asking me if I would be able to get them any baby items (as I was standing at the MOPS table) since they literally only had some clothes in their possession. I collected their contact info (cell number and email) and told them I would be in touch!

Fast forward 2 weeks, I posted a couple requests on facebook and slowly started collecting some items in my office at the church. I randomly was messaged on facebook by someone in our church asking if I new anyone that needed a crib. I said YES, and we arranged to get it delivered to my office. In the mean time, I attempted to call the cell number of this family and never got ahold of anyone. I emailed, and got no response. Regardless of not connecting back with them, I felt the need to still get all the baby items. On Saturday, April 13, God starting moving and making the impossible happen and I just kept saying yes. I stuck the crib in my office, grabbed the young families phone number again off my desk, and decided to call them on my way home. The husband answered the phone and with excitement told me his wife was in labor. They were going to have the baby any time now. Plus, he had keys to their new apartment and was willing to take anything! Talk about crazy timing.

From Saturday to Monday, with the help of MANY donors and support, my brother and I met the family at their new place with a truck load and car full of items to bless them with. From a kitchen table, chairs, rocking glider, crib, changing table, bedding, clothing, toys, books, dinner and much more, we stocked their place up. They literally came from the hospital to their place as a new family for the first time. (All of you moms imagine with me for a sec- going from a shelter to the hospital to have your baby and coming home with a new infant to a new apartment basically fully furnished. Only God!) Not only did we help them get settled in their home, but all of my MOPS mommies pitched in and arranged to bring meals to this family for 2 weeks.

This story is God showing up in my life. I've been blessed immensely to just walk through open doors using my skill set (as a mom) and my connections to help watch a young family see God for the first time and become real in practical ways. What's your skill set? Want to see God do some impossible things on your behalf? Just say YES!

To be continued . . . (cause there are more impossibilities happening and some photos too)

Monday, April 8, 2013

a little of this, a little of that

Realizing I'm far behind on my updates with my kids and my "everyday" self, I thought I could give a quick recap of the past couple of months surrounding some big highlights.

My Everyday Life (remember, I'm not that normal)

1. We got a new car. We traded in our Navigator and got a more "gas" friendly family car. So, I'm driving the Camry now and Joe upgraded to a Lexus. Enjoying life from a smaller vantage point and really enjoying my gas bill!
Not the best photo, but you get the point.

2. We booked a trip to Cabo! Celebrated our 5 year anniversary with an overnight in San Fran but going to really celebrate when we take to the skies for Cabo in May! Can't wait!!!
The all-inclusive resort we will be staying at
3. We got a new dining room table. Haven't eaten on it yet, but we LOVE it. We actually had it made by the Capital Kids Interns. We are slowly getting all the seating finished, but our dining room is finally coming together! I think we are going to invite those that helped us build it to eat on it first!
Thank you to ALL who helped make this happen!

4. MOPS is still in full swing. I love it! I just love helping moms not live life on their own when it's so easy in this crazy season of life to do. We are launching fundraisers and working together to get to MomCon in October too. Super excited to do life with some crazy women!

Mops Fundraiser- see raising money can be fun!

5. I just turned 30! AHH but really it felt like any other Easter day. I think post kids- birthdays just haven't really affected me much. Then again, I got completely spoiled by friends and family- and I'm just going to say it again because I can- we are going to Cabo! Celebrating it big in May!
Check out that Cabo view!
6. I've been on a semi-health kick. I say semi- because with the littles, it's kind of hard for me to commit completely. But I've been working out at least 3 times a week (which is better than nothing right?) and watching what I eat a little more cautiously . . . minus snacking off of my kids food- ha- that'll be the death of me.
Costco check out! 

7. Got to have a date night with all the adults in our fam! My parents are the best. They surprised us all and bought tickets to a show called Traces (super cool) and treated us to dinner. We just love hanging out with our fam sometimes without the kiddos. We are super spoiled. Love that our parents like hanging out with us still!
Love my fam!

8. Celebrated a few other family birthdays too (Ella, our niece, turned 2! Joe's dad & Mom also got just one year older, so did my Mom! Birthdays birthdays birthdays- love how they bring fam together)
Ella's Farm party

9. I've been spoiled by my husband just because. You see, his love language (primary- cause he scores almost even on all 5) is gift-giving. So in an attempt to help me look cute at the gym, I've been scoring Nike shoes and cute sweaters. I love that he loves to give- but I really need to get better at giving to him- cause just like he enjoys giving, he likes to receive too- ha! that's the only bummer about that love language (but it's really not a bummer) I'm just being weird. The real bummer is that he has expensive taste!

10. Work, Work and Work...I actually really LOVE going to work. We are on our 58th Issue of the Magazine (which I love!) Check out our pinterest board! I get to live life out with really cool people and try to solve the worlds problems with LOVE. No greater task than that.

I'm sure I'm leaving some fun things out, but really, my life is a crazy adventure! I love living it out with my little family of four! (and of course extended family and friends!) I do live it a little randomly. So my next goal is to actually create some goals and see how many I can accomplish through the rest of this year! I received these awesome Vision Cast questions to do with Joe from Jen Patin (our Threshold Young Married leaders). We will be going through them on our trip. But I was given permission to share with you all- cause I thought they were awesome starters for getting some goals.

Did I tell you I'm super excited about going to Cabo?

Anyways, just a little of this and a little of that. I could probably write an entire blog on each of the items above, but gotta move on to some new just a quick update on my life.


Thursday, March 28, 2013


So, I've never been one to travel across country for a convention. But, when getting a bunch of friends together, thinking about getting away from the "household" stuff for a few days, laughing, staying up too late, and learning a bunch of stuff that could make me a better wife, mom, friend, and just a better me- I couldn't resist.

The craziest part of the whole thing is, my husband didn't even seem to object. Seriously? Maybe it's because it's several months away, or maybe it's because he's just super supportive, or call it God prepared the way . . . but I'm super excited to jump on an airplane with old and new friends to explore what Mom Con is all about. That's what MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) titles it's convention. The craziest thing too is that this is our first year being introduced to MOPS and we are all in. I guess you can say we all have felt blessed, challenged and encouraged by what it offers.

Regardless, I'm packing my bags and going to start counting down the days (it's in October) for this life-changing experience. They have a great line up scheduled to celebrate 40 years of MOPS this year (Beth Moore, Lysa TerKeurst, Jen Hatmaker, etc). I love living real life out with other young moms. It's awesome to be able to share life's joys and struggles with each other! I know it's going to be life-changing for sure. We are taking "for sure" 5 moms from our leadership team, but the number is slowly going up.

If you want to learn more about what it's all about, check out their registration link here: If you want to learn more about Capital MOPS and be apart of our amazing team, find us on facebook here:!

I've heard lots of excuses why people don't make it to events like this, but spend a day with some of my leaders (stay-at-home-moms & working-moms) and they will inspire you to find a way to get there. I'm using my birthday money this year to register because I know it's going to be a crazy fun experience.

Join us if you want to get away! The investment you make will make it all the more worth-while!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fire Station Playroom {Christmas 2012}

Hoping you all had an amazing Christmas! I actually ended up with a horrible cold right alongside Izzy, but we made it through and had a great time spending the holidays with family.

Our Christmas revolved around the "Fireman" theme yet again. We thought maybe our little man Judah would focus in on a new subject matter by now, but it's just not the case. We are living in a constant world of "emergencies." There is always a fire to be put out, a rescue mission to be conducted, a paramedic that needs to give a hurt person some attention, you name it- we are on call 24/7.

We got majorily (I know it's not a word) spoiled this Christmas. Judah's dreams came true with his new fireman gear costume, water tank, fire car, and fireman pole (Don't worry- not all of it was from us, we clued the grandparents into what was on our little man's wish list).

Through a little Pinterest perusing and some Busy Kids inspiration- I got a new vision for our playroom (It's probably about the 4th time we have re-done our playroom and I have a feeling that number is going to keep going up). I often find it hard to want to "play" in our playroom because it always felt like there were toys everywhere and we had no order to our madness. I'm so grateful for other geniuses out there who help solve my problems by giving me some structure (which I tend to lack- I'm a free spirit kind of person). So, I took what we already had, an amazing room, and decided to organize it. Wanna guess what we organized it to be? You're right! A FIRE STATION! And let me tell you, this fire station has been in use since the plan began to unfold. I so wish I had taken better before and after pictures- but I'll give you some of the afters in a second. It's still in Phase 1 of becoming a "cute" fire station, but it's a working one none-the-less.

We created a climbing area from an old slide (still looking for a cheap ladder) which leads Fireman Judah up to his bunk. We got a crib mattress and a pillow up on the window sill which created a great fireman bed and also will be used for a reading nook as he gets older (the visions in my head). Then, we ran into a store manager at Lowe's who dreamed with us and gave us all the tools needed to create a fire pole that he could slide down. (If you are interested in those building materials- comment below and I can write a post on those- it's super simple and cheap- but don't want to waste the time explaining if nobody wants that info.) You have to see him live in action here:

Next, we cleaned out the storage of my crafts/wrapping paper and junk from our wardrobe area, and we placed all fire equipment, gear, costumes, trucks and gadgets hidden away for him to access during emergencies. This way too- he's got a place for ALL fire stuff- it doesn't randomly disappear across the room and he's very serious about keeping it organized- because fire guys always put their stuff back in their "garages."

We moved our play kitchen over near the "garage." You must know that fireman have kitchens at their stations. Our play kitchen is now the fire station kitchen and I get served some great meals from there. Our TV and sitting area is now the common area where the firemen can relax while waiting for an emergency, etc. You get the point right? The best part of it all, we have purpose in the playroom. The toys are getting played with and stuck back where they belong before moving to the next thing. It's seriously a Christmas miracle. It's working out great for our little family.

Our little Izzy loves being outside and with the new "fire truck" (it was the cheapest motorized car we could find for Judah's big gift) we get lots of playtime outside riding around our street and Izz has learned to ride Judah's little three-wheeler car too (she got other toys for Christmas too- don't worry- but she still is in the go-with-the-flow phase of life). Izzy is Judah's right-hand-girl. She'll become whatever he wants her to be at the moment (fireman, paramedic, person needing rescue, etc) with no complaint.

If you are ever bored and need to spend some time at a fire station, come on over. Judah will tell you what to do. He's great at that.

Here's to a New Year with lots more "rescues" to be had.

Just in case you need a little more of this cute little fireman: