Thursday, December 1, 2016

Known By Him

Hello there! It's been so long. If I still have any followers out there, I wanted to let you know that as of today, I have started a new blog. I would love to have you come follow me over at Known By Him. Looking forward to reconnecting with you!

Friday, July 11, 2014

What 2014 Has Brought

Holy cow, it's been way too long since I last blogged. I have been writing blog posts for two local stores so that was taking up much of my "creative juices / desire to write". It was a fabulous job and writing those blogs was so fun, but it did leave me less then interested to write towards my personal blog. But, I am no longer working for those stores so hopefully I'll get back to writing on here more often.

First things first - one of my last posts was a response I wrote about an article sent to me about infertility. You can read that here.

So, it is only right that I officially (by official, I mean blog official - the info is already on Facebook so that means it's official right? Hehe) announce we are pregnant!!

In late February we began treatment for an IUI (intrauterine insemination). Treatment consisted on both oral medications (letrozole) and shots (follistim) that I gave myself at home. After 10 days on treatment, we had an ultrasound to see if the medications were "doing their job". And they were...follicles were growing on both ovaries and looking good so far. I was told to do 2 more at home injections then return a few days later for another ultrasound. That ultrasound looked fabulous. So we moved to the next step which was to do another injection but this time the medication (ovidril) was to tell me body to ovulate and then we would return 24 hours later for the procedure. The next morning we returned to the doctor and had the procedure.

I continued to repeat Psalm 139 in my head that whole morning.

10 days later I decided I just had to take a pregnancy test. They told me to wait at least 2 weeks. Ha, yea right! You'd think that having gone thru fertility treatments to conceive both my babies, I would have learned a lesson about being patient...but nope. I woke up early that morning and just had to do it. 

When you have months and months of disappointment, you get really good at not getting your hopes up. You begin to look at taking a pregnancy test as "this way I'll just know that I'm not pregnant and I can start fresh with more treatment next time". You get really good and KNOWING you will not see 2 lines. 

I WAS SHOCKED!! 2 LINES!!
Oh Lord you have searched me and you know me!

When we got pregnant with Lindley Belle, I waited till after our fertility doctor confirmed it before telling Craig. This time there was no waiting! I ran into my closet, dug thru my t-shirts looking for the one that says "BABY" with an arrow pointing to my belly. I found it, threw it on and ran downstairs to find Craig. Together we were shocked, thrilled and freaking out all at once. My very next move was to call the doctor so I could get my blood drawn. And later that day - it was confirmed! Between taking the pregnancy test and going to the doctor, I attended my weekly woman's Bible study at my church. During those 2 hours there I saw both my mom and my mother-in-law. But I kept a straight face. I even sat in my small group for almost an hour and didn't say anything - that was so hard because these precious ladies had been praying for me for months. We have been a 1 car family for 7 months and so my dear friend Bess was giving Lindley Belle and I a ride home from Bible study. And guess what? I told her!! I couldn't help myself - I just had to tell someone and she was perfect! :) And just 1 day later, after the doctor confirmed it, we told our families by Lindley Belle showing them her new book...which is titled "I'm A Big Sister". We sent this video to all my siblings who live out of town.


We know that announcing to family within a few days of finding out is not the norm. But in our case, everyone knew we would be finding out that week. In fact, my sister-in-law even texted me saying something like "I know you're finding out today" Not naming any name....Elaine.

The next several weeks consisted of many ultrasounds at our fertility doctor as we watching little peanut grow. Craig was not able to attend our first ultrasound at 6 weeks so my mom went with me. That was really fun! I took video to send to Craig though of course. 


Once we were ready to make it "facebook official" I asked my friend Jennifer to come over and take a picture. At that time, I was nauseous all day and throwing up 4-6 times a day, so I was not feeling up to taking a picture. But Jennifer is a fabulous photographer and was happy to come help me out. You can check out her website here! We posted this awesome picture to facebook and instagram.


I am now over 20 weeks along and feeling much better! I feel the baby move all the time and it's a constant reminder of God's work in our lives. We also found out 2 weeks ago if we're having a boy or girl....

(Disclaimer - Craig and I already knew - we found out at the ultrasound that morning)


There are days I still have to remind myself that this is actually happening. There are days that I am blown away by my lack of faith in that God would provide how he sees fit. My first pregnancy and now this pregnancy have taught me so much about the God we serve. I am humbled by all the ways he provided for this precious baby to enter our family. So many small and big details that only He could have orchestrated.

Our God is Greater.

 During our months of battling fertility treatments, I called out to God everyday with questions. I shed tears of anger and sadness. My focus now to turn my calling out into praise. We so easily lean on him when we're in the valley. Isn't it strange how sometimes we forgot to praise him when we're on the peaks. Lindley Belle, and this new sweet baby are my constant reminder that he was faithful in my pain and so I must also be faithful in my joy. He is the creator and only He deserves the praise and honor for giving me my babies. 

Stay tunes for a blog post about our sweet baby's name!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Meal Exchange Group!

A couple months ago I mentioned to my friend Bess that we should start a meal exchange group. One of my goals for the new year is to meal plan better and work on having meals in the freezer. And Bess is 39 weeks pregnant with her 3rd baby and works from home, so some help in the dinner department sounded great to her. A couple weeks later she and I were at the zoo with a few other sweet  mommy friends and I took that opportunity to ask them if joining a meal exchange group would be something they would be interested in. Everyone agreed without hesitation! At that point we had 5. But the number 8 sounded good to us so we threw out a few names of other mommy friends who we thought might be interested...I went home and emailed them that day. Within 24 hours we had our group of 8!

Between the 8 of us we have 10 kids under the age of  9...with 2 more babies arriving very soon. And 8 of those 10 kids are under the age of 4! Some are working mommies, some have infants at home, some have husbands that travel a lot.

So (with the help of Pinterest) I came up with our game plan:

1. Set a date & time for our exchange
2. Agree on 8 recipes (because there are 8 in the group)
3. Each mommy pick which recipe she would "assemble"
4. Make that recipe 8 times (writing the meal name & cooking instructions on each container)
5. Bring 7 of those meals to the exchange night
6. Enjoy some wine and mommy time
7. Go home with 7 different meals!

Last night was our first exchange!
Yoga pants & sweatshirts = the mandatory attire :)
I also served some wine and a yummy hot pepper jelly cream cheese dip.
Mommies unite!
 

We're excited about where we can go from here! And who knws - maybe next time we'll have more mommies joining in the fun!

Some things we did that was helpful:

1. For this time, we did all chicken meals - that way we could all stay within a similar budget.
2. We let each other know when chicken went on sale at certain stores.
3. We stayed mindful of allergies and family eating habits - that's why everyone had to approve the list of recipes before we began picking which to make.
4. This time, we did all crock-pot friendly meals - we have said that we can get fancy with our meal selections later but for our first time, we kept it simple. 

Where I found this month's recipes:

The Frugal Girls - www.thefrugalgirls.com/category/crockpot-recipe
Six Sister's Stuff - www.sixsistersstuff.com/2012/09/slow-cooker-freezer-meals-make-8-meals.html
Mama:Inspired - www.mamainspired.com/2013/01/mass-crock-pot-dinners.html


Hawaiian Chicken
5 breasts
1 can pineapple
1 jar of Hawaiian BBQ sauce
Add 1/2 cup water when it goes into crock pot
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.

Peach Chipotle Chicken
5 chicken breasts
One 18 oz. Bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
1 jar Smucker’s Peach Preserves {18 oz.}

Chicken Cacciatore
5 chicken breasts
1 (26 oz) jar of chunky vegetable-style spaghetti sauce
1 zucchini, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.
Serve with cooked spaghetti noodles and parm cheese.

Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken
5 chicken breasts
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours (or HIGH for 4 hours). Sprinkle with fresh or dried rosemary for serving.
 
Barbecued Chicken
5 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp yellow mustard
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Cook on LOW for 4 - 6 hours.

Salsa Chicken
5 chicken breasts
1 - 15 1/4 oz can corn, drained
1 - 15 1/4 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 16 oz. jar of salsa
Cook on LOW for 4-6  hours. When done, take 2 forks and shred the chicken and mix all together.
Wrap on tortillas for serving.

Teriyaki Chicken
  5 chicken breasts
1/2 bag of baby carrots
1 red onion cut in chunks
1 can undrained pineapple chunks
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours - serve over rice.

Orange Chicken
5 chicken breasts
3/4 cup Smuckers Sweet Orange Marmalade
3/4 cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce
2 tbsp. Soy Sauce
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Response

My good friend Jennifer, forwarded an article to me the other day, asking me what I thought. I decided to take it a step farther and blog my thoughts.

The article is How The Church Makes Infertility Better (Or Worse)

As you all know, I have lots of thoughts on infertility. So I'm going to keep my reflection to sections that line up with the four sections of the article.

I need to preface with this: These are just my opinions....opinions that have been shaped from my personal experience with infertility and secondary infertility. I know that I look at infertility differently then others who battle it. I have an "open-book" personality that assists in my outlook.



1. I wholeheartedly agree that infertility is a bigger deal then most people think. If you are a fertile woman, you need to be very careful how you speak about "getting pregnant" in public settings. You don't know who you might be offending. Even with just a simple comment such as "and we weren't even trying to get pregnant!" Yes, while that is true for so many, it might not be true for someone standing in that same social circle. And sadly, that 'simple comment' becomes a haunting voice that takes days for her to forget. It's not your fault that you were able to get pregnant with no effort...just like it's not her fault that she can't get pregnant with much effort.

I do not agree with the author's thoughts on infertility being something we can't talk about at church because fertility is bound up in issues with sex and intimacy - therefore making it embarrassing to talk about. I could not disagree more. I have friends who battle infertility and have met many couples who struggle with it - never once have I heard anyone say they were embarrassed because it shun light on their issues with sex and intimacy...

It's painful. That's why it's hard to talk about. It aches in such deep dark valleys of our hearts that unless we are speaking to someone with true experience on the topic, we try not to bring it up. The painful truth is that when talking to someone who "doesn't know", we're opening the door to be hurt.

Fertility treatments are expensive and wreak havoc on your fiances. That's not new news. It sucks.



2. Battling with infertility is going to cause strain in friendships and relationships. There is no way of hiding from that. People will shock you with the things they say. Friends, to no fault of their own, will deeply hurt your feelings. You will find yourself distancing yourself from people and justifying it with "they just don't get it" and "they will say something hurtful".

I will admit that some of that is by our own doing - as the author of the article also says.

We get hurt and want to protect ourselves. That's human nature. But in most cases, we are a victim of someone's attempt to help and support. We need to be thankful for that. We need to fight our natural tendencies. It's a 2-way street. Advise givers need to be very sensitive and mindful of their words. Advise takers need to be understanding that our reality is different from their reality. Hard to do. But needs to be done for the sake of friendships.

One of my favorite paragraphs from the article is:

"If you know people in your church who are dealing with infertility, be prepared to sympathize when the topic comes up, but you can do so much to encourage them simply by being a friend. Make a point of getting to know them, spending time with them, and encouraging them spiritually in the ordinary course of life. Sometimes when infertile couples are in the throes of feeling isolated and desperate to be normal, they just need you to be a friend, to remind them that they are normal, that you like them, and that you want to live the Christian life side-by-side with them."

AMEN!! My infertility is not the only thing I know to talk about or even want to talk about. I am so appreciative when a friend asks me about our struggle, hear me when I say that. But I am also thrilled when a friend wants to talk to me about something else going on in my life. Treating me with the normal "rules of friendship" helps the relationship flow as it should. And to take it even a further step, I love love love when a friend allows me to be there for them in a hardship they are walking through. Friendship is give and take. And I love both giving and taking. Battling infertility does not mean I can't handle whatever mess my friend wants to share with me. On the contrary, my trials motivate me to jump in the deep end hand-in-hand with my friend through whatever pool, pond, lake or even ocean she is swimming in.


3. I recently blogged about a friend that asked how she could pray for me and it opened a safe platform for me to confess my anger at God and my anger at the words spoken to me in ways that seemed insensitive to me. You can read that here: Take Two

There is a great line in the article where the writer says "cultivate the kind of open, honest relationship that makes your friendship a safe space for them to vent their pain, confess their sins, and ask for accountability and prayer. Take the lead by being willing to confess your own sins and make yourself vulnerable"

Isn't that the recipe for deep maturing christian friendships - whether battling infertility or not, this should be the way we approach those relationships God has placed in our life. Who cares what a person is struggling with - this is the type of friend we are called to be as followers of Christ. There is no need to "set aside" this type of approach for only when we believe we see sin in someone's life. This should be a daily approach. Period.


4.For me, my days of battling infertility have been days that I have felt God's presence in magnificent ways. I'm not saying I have handled it perfectly, but I really work at embracing where He has me. I agree with the author about coming to new understandings about how our trials are meant for good. 

When we were going thru treatment the first time, I recall an emotional breakdown I had in October of 2010. Our 6th round of treatment had failed and we were being refereed to a new doctor for further treatment. For me, swallowing the pill of  hearing my doctor say "there's nothing else I can do but I would like to refer you on" was much harder then I thought it would be. But in the days following this news, I felt deep strength and security in God's unfailing faithfulness in my life. I felt that He was working so passionately on my heart. I truly made peace with that ALL THINGS come from Him. 

These days, I can barely get through a hymn or a sermon without tearing up. I have no doubt it's because God saw fit to walk me thru the trial of infertility and beautifully taught me things about Himself I would otherwise not know. And for that, I am so grateful.

As 2013 comes to an end and we are again 7 months into the dark deep valleys of infertility, knowing that our next step is more then we've seen yet, I am hopeful. Not only hopeful that the Lord will bless us with another child but more importantly hopeful that God is working on my heart again. I'm humbled that he challenges me daily thru this trial. I'm again grateful to me reminded that I am oh-so-small and he is oh-so-big! I'm thankful for the ways he teaches me.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pancakes & Pajamas Party!

Lindley Belle turned TWO on August 29th. Better late then never for a blog post right?

 Last year, I went all out to celebrate her 1st birthday. Want to see that blog post? Click here! But this year, I promised my hubby I would "calm" down a little. Ha! For her 2nd birthday party, I settled on the theme of "Pancakes & Pajamas". I had these adorable images in mind of all her little friends running around in their pj's and giggling about eating pancakes together.

And that's exactly what we did!

A couple of weeks before her birthday we sent this invitation out:


Then I went shopping for fabric. Because of course I had to sew her pajamas to match the invitation!

 (I tried 3 times to turn this pic right side up...)

Some of you might be thinking that I was crazy to invite a bunch of toddlers over for pancakes, but I had a fun idea. I set up 2 long tables in my living room and covered them with tablecloths. I made a place setting for each "little" guest that included a plate, fork, napkin and a cup with their name on it. So when it came time to eat, there was no confusion on where to sit! We instructed the kiddos to find their seats and sit...while the mommies made their plates. 

The pancake bar included:
mini pancakes
chocolate chips
blueberries
sliced strawberries
whipped cream
maple syrup
chocolate syrup

Drink Options:
water
milk
OJ 
Mimosas 
(for the adults of course!)

We had the most fun celebrating 2 years with our happy little girl!












Monday, September 9, 2013

Take Two

It's been almost 3 years since I sat down at my computer and wrote this post:

On Monday, January 3rd of 2011 I found out I was pregnant. I remember a feeling of relief rush over me. Since I was 15, when I was diagnosed with PCOS, I had this sickening feeling that I would never be pregnant. God is good. On Monday, August 29th of 2011 I gave birth to Lindley Belle, the sweetest pea pod. God is good. Yesterday, we received the news that our 4th round of fertility treatment for our second child had failed. God is good.


Last week, I was with a small group of friends. We were sharing prayer requests. I shared that we were most likely about to get news that the 4th round didn't work. I was asked how I wanted to be prayed for. I was so grateful she asked. I know it's easy to assume that someone who is battling infertility wants you to pray for patience & God's will. And yes, those are right, but here's the thing: Everyday I am searching for God's will and begging for patience. Those things are easy to pray for, because I want them.

What I'm not praying about is my anger, disappointment and extreme sensitivity to what others say. Those things are hard to pray about. To pray for those means I have to do some admitting. Ouch. By this friend asking specifically how she could pray, it softened my heart and gave me an opportunity to admit & share, in a safe place, and be prayed for for the things I struggle praying for for myself.

I know several people who have battled infertility, or currently battling it for the first time, or battling it for the second time, like me. I have friends who's infertility journey looks like mine, and others who's journey has been much longer with deeper pains and disappointment. But, in talking to these ladies, there is 1 thing that we all have in common: our sensitivity to what others say when they're trying to help. We know without any doubt that people are trying to help. We know without any doubt that people care about us and deeply want to say the right thing. And we are so thankful for these people. Truly we are!

The painful truth is this: if you have not been thru a journey of infertility, the less you say, the better.

I have a few close friends who have been so wonderful in their support and encouragement. I have learned that it's because they don't tell me how they think I should feel...they validate my hurt, they tell me how sorry they are, they hug me, they ask for me to keep them updated so they can pray. They are aware that they have not experienced it themselves and so they don't try to act like they have.

Yesterday I received this text:

"I'm so sorry to hear your news today. I have not experienced that but I do 
know pain and disappointment. I will pray for you".

3 very short and to the point sentences. But it was perfect. It's OK to tell someone that you have not been thru what they're going thru. If anything, that frees you up from the pressure to "say the right thing". I am very grateful to that friend for her text.

I have another sweet friend who occasionally will send me scripture and song lyrics. Perfect for my soul. So thankful for her too.

* I know that by putting my infertility struggles "out there", I am making it hard to deal with my sensitivity to what others say. If no one knew, no one would say the wrong thing, right? Probably very true. But that's not how I function. I have felt a calling from the Lord to be open and honest about my struggles. It's great therapy for me personally, but more importantly, I pray that I can offer other women a place of comfort. I want us to know we are not in this alone. And that there is no shame or embarrassment here. I want to hurt when you hurt, and be happy when you're happy.

Friday, September 6, 2013

1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry or beautiful clothes.You should clothe yourself instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."


Everyday I do Lindley Belle's hair (usually the cutest little puppy dog ear pig tails). The very moment I tighten the last little piggy she twirls around and exclaims "pretty!" Then we find the perfect bow that matches her outfit. She says "show daddy!" and just that fast she goes running down the hall and into her daddy's office to show off her hair and outfit. From down the hall I can hear her squealing as her daddy tells her she is beautiful and tells her that her dress is so pretty. And of course, some sweet kisses and tight hugs are included.

Where did Lindley Belle learn to know her hair was pretty after I fixed it?
Where did she learn that she could run to her daddy for approval?
Who taught her that praise would follow putting on a pretty dress & fixing her hair?

Me. I taught her. I feel so proud.

From the moment I put a bow on her head (errr...when she was only 30 min old) and dressed her in a pretty pink outfit (the day we took her home from the hospital), I have added a little something "extra" to my voice when I tell her how pretty she is. As soon as she could walk, I began encouraging her to "show off" her outfit/hair/bow to her daddy because I knew he would add to how beautiful she was feeling. 

Like any mother, I tell my little chunky monkey how beautiful she is as often as I can. No matter what she is wearing or how her hair looks. As does her daddy - a sweet gift for me to see in action. 

Lindley Belle doesn't exclaim "pretty!" and twirl around and want to run to gain praise from her daddy when she is in her pajamas. Or when she first wakes in the morning and her hair looks like those precious babies from the pampers commercial. No, she has learned that hollering "pretty" and praising her beauty really only happens when we have fixed her hair and put on a pretty outfit.

Recently this thought has come over me: I am teaching my daughter the opposite of the gospel.

One of the most beautiful things about my salvation in Christ is that it has nothing to do with how pretty my life is or all the things I try to do to appear worthy of Him. It's actually quite the opposite. When I watch my daughter get so excited and run to show her daddy how pretty she is, I think "how great is it that this is not our relationship with the Lord".Can you imagine it? If everyday we had to go into another room, fix ourselves up until we feel worthy of His praise, and then run to the throne for his approval and acceptance. I know I would not be strong enough to keep that going. Daily I bask in the security I find in that my God sees me worthy of his Kingdom...thru Christ, NOT thru anything I have done or will do. I love this quote:

"You cannot do anything to make God love you less...but you also cannot do 
anything to make God love you more."

Unfortunately, in this broken world, unconditional love is most likely something she will never experience, separate from a relationship with the Lord. Even as her mommy, there will be times (tear) that I will disappoint her and cause her to have insecurities about my love for her. There will be times she feels like she has to perform a certain way in order to gain "more love" from me. It breaks my heart to even think of a day she feels that way. But I know that day will come.

My heart aches for her to bask in the security of feeling beautiful in Christ, whether she's in a new Belle princess gown or early in the morning when her hair is a hot mess. Oh how I yearn for my sweet Lindley Belle to know the unconditional love of God.


P.S. Don't worry - I will still continue to let Lindley Belle find joy in running to her daddy to show off her hair and outfit. Because I know from personal experience that 29 years from now, Lindley Belle will be stronger and more confident in herself because of her daddy telling her that she is beautiful. I would never take that away from her. A father's love for his daughter is a sacred thing...you don't mess with it! :)



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Painted Mason Jars

Mason jars. They're everywhere right now aren't they? I've totally jumped on the bandwagon. I love them. I love them as drinking jars. Flowers jars. Candy jars (I'm not kidding, I have a mason jar in the bathroom full of candy for my daughter - don't you wish you got candy every time you went to the potty?!)

I have these mason jars that I painted - seriously took no longer then an hour - start to finish. But they always seem to get a lot of attention (more then the curtains I sewed that took several hrs...) when friends and family come over. So, I thought I'd do a quick "how to" for all you to see how simple it is. Sadly, it didn't occur to me to take "during" pictures. Only before and after. My bad.

I bought my jars at Hobby Lobby when glass was 50% off. 

RARELY do I buy full price at Hobby Lobby :)

I have some acrylic paint in my craft stash at home. So I use a green, a blue and some white and whipped up these different turquoise shades.

Then followed these simple steps:
1. Pour a large amount of paint into the jar
2. Roll the jar around in all different directions - watching to make sure the paint makes it's way all the way around and up the sides.
3. Lay newspaper down
4. Pick a side of the jar (doesn't matter where you start) and lay it down 
5. Wait 5 minutes
6. Roll the jar on to another side
7. Repeat steps 5-6 a couples times
8. Turn jar upside down on newspaper to let excess paint drip out
9. Wait 10 min
10. DONE! 


Once they were all dry, I tied some twine (because who doesn't love twine!) around the necks and added a few wild flowers. I wanted the perfect place to put these little babies. 

To make a long story short...

When a recent GAP store was closing, my sweet mom was given some dark wooden boxes. In her exact words she thought "I bet Missy could do something with these!" So she packed them in her car and brought them to me! I love an excuse for a new DIY project. I painted the boxes with non other then the amazing Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and hung them in a row above our couch! Insert cute turquoise mason jars...and PRETTY! 


Wait, what is that behind the flowers in the top right picture?...you might ask. Well, our downstairs thermostat was placed smack in the middle of the wall. NOT good for a girl that loves to decorate. BUT, I rose to the challenge. I measured the thermostat and had a square cut that was a little bit bigger. Let me just tell you. I was quite proud of myself when I hung that box!

Monday, July 1, 2013

10 Years Later

I started this post last month and never finished it. I am finally getting a chance to finish and post it. I wrote it on June 8...

Ten years ago this very weekend, I attended a trip to Fall Creek Falls. I had been visiting the College & Career class at Grace Evan for a few weeks. Even though I was neither in college nor did I have a career. I was 18 and not even a high school graduate. But thought I knew everything about life. Oh how little I really knew.

This weekend I am again attending a trip to Fall Creek Falls with Grace Evan. My sweet husband is the guest speaker for the annual Jr. High Youth Camp. I'm 28, a college graduate, a wife and a mommy. My "identity" has changed a lot since the last time I was here at Fall Creek Falls.


One day, I might gain the courage to blog in detail about my testimony and how the Lord is the redeemer of all things. But for today, I will keep it short and to the point. Ten years ago I sat down in a chair in the meeting room at group lodge 1 at Fall Creek Falls. My friend Shane Carmichael was sharing a bit of his testimony. It was like the Lord was speaking directly to me in that very moment. I stood up from that chair a very changed young women.

"Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee."

I had no understanding of the impact that moment would have on the rest of my life. I was full of pain and so much anger at how my life was turning out. I stood from that chair full of the joy of Christ and a hope in my future with him. Like I said, one day I might blog all about how deeply the Lord saved me from my life of anger motivated sin. 

 I am a child of God, born a sinner but saved by grace thru faith.

 This is my husband Craig, our daughter Lindley Belle and myself. Standing in the very spot where my chair sat 10 years ago. I have spent the last week listening to my husband preach the gospel in the very same room where the gospel changed my life. Returning to this place with my husband who loves me with a Christ like love and our daughter who we are raising in the admiration of the Lord...well there are just no words to express the joy in my heart. 10 years prior the Lord shinned his light down on me in that room and I'm sure he just couldn't wait for me to find out all the things he had planned for those 10 years!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Potty Training : The 3 Day Method - Day 3

Day 3:

8:40am - Lindley Belle had her morning bottle.
8:50am - TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY!!
9:00am - Breakfast (same as the days before).
9:45am - TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY!!
10:00am - More juice.
10:30am - TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY!!
11:30am - TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY!!
12:00pm - Lunch time.
12:50pm - TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY!!
1:00pm - I laid LB down for her nap with a diaper on.
3:45pm - LB woke up from her nap on time since she was wearing a diaper. 
4:00pm - My mom and younger brother came over. Today is his 25th birthday!!!
4:30pm -  TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY!!
5:30pm - TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY!!
6:15pm - Dinner time. She started to tee-tee while eating but stopped herself and finished in the potty! So technically she had an accident but I was so proud she controlled it till the potty!
7:00pm - TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY!! Right before we took a bath.
7:30pm - LN had her night time bottle.
7:50pm - TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY!!
8:00pm - Cici & I laid LB down for bed with a diaper on.

I am beyond proud of my sweet baby girl! She tried many times to go poo-poo today but it never happened. Maybe tomorrow. But what a BIG tee-tee success we've had!

Stay tuned for my recap & thoughts...


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Potty Training : The 3 Day Method - Day 2

Day 2 :

First, I have to "tell" on myself. I put LB to bed last night in undies and had planned on doing some of the overnight ideas that this method encourages you to do. But around 11:30pm I caved and put a diaper on her. I had planned on going in there to put undies back on her before she woke...but that didn't happen. So she woke up in a diaper and I immediately took it off and put her undies on. This method encourages to train day time and night time at the same time...but LB might be a pull-up wearer for her naps and night time for a little bit longer. And I'm ok with that...

8:30am - Lindley Belle had her morning bottle.
8:45am - Breakfast (prunes, blueberries, toast) and lots of juice
9:00am - She finished breakfast on the potty bc she said "tee-tee" but nothing.
10:20am - First accident - BUT as I picked her up to run to the potty, she was able to stop herself and finished on the potty!! I call that a TEE-TEE SUCCESS! She was at first extremely upset with herself but then very proud. I couldn't believe how well she had help it in. By 10:20am the day before, she had already had 3 accidents.
10:30am - I gave her some crackers & more juice.
11:30am - Since it had been over an hour since her last potty, I encouraged her to go to the bathroom with me. She sat on the potty for a few min, acted a little scared but then went TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY!! We celebrated and had some candy.
11:45am - Lunch time. More prunes & juice too. She has said "poo-poo" a lot today but has yet to go.
12:30pm - She was asking to go outside to swing & see Jake (our dog) but I knew she prob needed to go potty. I encouraged her to come to the bathroom. She sat on the potty but then started crying and acting really scared. I hugged her and put her back on the potty. Then she went TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY!! We celebrated and had some candy. Then I took her outside to swing and see Jake!
1:00pm - I laid her down for her nap in the same undies she had been wearing since 10:30am! During this nap, I ran to Target (Craig was home for lunch) and bought a Elmo toilet seat. Since she has seemed a little scared of the potty seat, I thought she might like to use the real potty.
3:00pm - She woke up early again due to being wet. I should have just put a diaper on her for her nap. I plan to let her sleep in a diaper thru the night tonight.
3:15pm - I waited too long to go get her out of bed and she ended up going poo-poo in her undies. But she kept saying "yucky-yucky" so I'm hoping she understands that's a no-no.
3:45pm - TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY! This was on the real potty using the seat. She LOVED it!
4:15pm - She started "potty training" her beloved teddy bear Wiggins aka "nigh-nigh"
4:50pm - She told me "poo-poo" but then as we walked to the bathroom she turned around and said "no" so I didn't take her....I should have though bc she ended up having a tee-tee accident. First one since 10:20am!
5:35pm - TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY!!!!! She really got into the celebration this time. It's clicking!!
6:00pm - Dinner time
6:15pm - Accident during dinner. Poor girl takes her eating very seriously :)
6:30pm - Took a bath!
7:20pm - Her Poppa & Cici came to visit her! She was SO happy to see them! I had a feeling she would prob have an accident while they were here since she would be excited and distracted...I was right. Poor thing.
8:00pm - Cici & I put her down for bed...with a diaper on.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY HAS MADE! I'm so proud of my big girl!!

Stay tuned for day 3...


Potty Training : The 3 Day Method - Day 1

I am about to start the 3 Day Potty Training method with Lindley Belle (age 19.5 months) tomorrow (4/17). I thought I would blog (warning - it's going to be detailed!) about our struggles, progress and all the details in between. One reason I have for blogging in detail about it is for accountability. If I know that I am blogging about this, it will keep me focused. I also know that it's going to be hard and a lot of times, taking notes and journaling thru a hard time helps get you thru that moment and on to the next. When I was scheduling Lindley Belle I wrote down every little detail that happened throughtout the day. It really did help me get thru the day AND it's now been a great resource for other moms who have come to me for help and advise with scheduling their little one.Yes, I'm a BIG advocate for Babywise - I know many moms are not, and I respect their reasons. But I had TONS of success with Babywise mixed with my own intuition as a mother....OK, so scheduling is something I love to discuss...maybe I'll blog about it one day.

Back to potty training...maybe these next few posts can be of encouragement and a source is information for someone....or maybe a source of laughter too, depending on how the next few days go! Ha!

I plan to do 4 separate posts.

1. Day 1
2. Day 2
3. Day 3
4. Recap & Thoughts

My Thoughts on Readiness:

There are lots of opinions out there on the readiness of your toddler. My biggest piece of advise on this subject is this: you know your child better then anyone else. If they are interested in what you do in the bathroom and have started showing signs of understanding when they are going tee-tee & poo-poo, there's a chance they are read. But you are the mommy. Trust your gut feeling.

The Day Before:

Lindley Belle & I went to the store together to pick out her new undies (Belle & Dora!) and reward candy...or as she calls it "nandy!" I also got some juice boxes, (I am usually VERY against juice, but I know she'll love it, and in turn drink a lot which in turn will give me lots of chances to teach), sweetened prunes and a interactive Potty Time with Elmo book. She loves Elmo.



Our downstairs is all wood & tile so I've decided we will just stay downstairs during these days. I've pulled up the rugs and brought down lots of LB's toys & books from her playroom.

Day 1:

8:30am - Lindley Belle had her morning bottle.
8:45 am - Breakfast (sweetened prunes, shredded wheat & blueberries) & Elmo fruit juice.
9:00am - I read the Potty Time with Elmo book to Lindley Belle and took off her diaper & put on her first pair of undies. I let her pick out her undies - she picked Princess Belle.
9:20am - Gave LB another box of juice.
9:45am - First accident. I scooped her up and rushed her to her potty.I stayed calm & loving. Of course she was done by the time I sat her on it. LB was very upset and did not like feeling her tee-tee. I put another pair of undies (this time Dora) on LB and she watched me clean the floor.
10:05am - Second accident. This time LB slipped in it - that really upset her. I did the same routine as with the first accident. She was also very upset about Dora getting "yucky-yucky".
10:20am - Third accident. Same routine as before...
10:35am - She told me "tee-tee" so we ran to the potty and sat for a few min. Nothing.
10:38am - Fourth accident...BUT could have been a potty success had a kept her on the potty longer...to me, this was a small sign of progress.
11:00am - I sat her on the potty and we read a book. FIRST TEE-TEE SUCCESS! Even though she did not tell me ahead of time, she still got her tee-tee in the potty! So we had a big celebration and ate some candy.
11:45am - Lunch time & another juice box.
12:20pm - Fifth accident. Same routine as before.
12:45pm - She told me "poo-poo" so we ran to the potty and sat down.She didn't go poo-poo but we had our SECOND TEE-TEE SUCCESS! We had a big celebration and had some more candy.
1:00pm - I laid LB down for her nap. In a clean pair of undies on top of several beach towels.
2:50pm - She woke up early from her nap because she was wet. (Sixth accident)
3:00pm - She told me "tee-tee" and we ran to the bathroom and she went TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY!! We had a VERY big celebration and had some candy! I also gave her some more juice.
3:40pm - Seventh accident. Same routine as before.
3:55pm - TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY!!!! I saw this as a big success bc she obviously didn't empty her bladder 15 min earlier and so when she needed to go, she remembered to go in the potty!
From 4:15 - 7:00 things got a little crazy. There was a mix of 3 more accidents and 2 more TEE-TEE IN THE POTTY! We had some dinner and took a bath. Also during this time she told me "poo-poo" several times but would never go on the potty. So....she felt very comfortable during her bath and decided to poo-poo in the tub! I was really upset because she has never done that but I stayed calm and loving towards her.
7:30 - another accident...I've lost count at this point. Ha!
7:45 - I put her to bed...45 min early...haha! She was tired too. It had been a tough day.

Stay tuned for day 2...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bodyguards

Recently I've learned a new little joy in life. Watching my dear friend's children love on my daughter. I mean, just turns your heart to mush! The other day I had the privilege of snapping a picture at such a moment. Wanted to share it with my few blogger friends!

My daughter has just started walking and these 2 boys belong to one of my dearest friend.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bieber Fever!

So my daughter has caught the fever....the Bieber fever that is....

For your viewing enjoyment!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Real Life Raggedy Ann!

Oh my goodness y'all, I signed in to start this post and looked at the date of my last post...WOW! I knew Oct was a busy month but yikes, didn't know it was so busy I didn't even post. 

What were you doing? you might ask.

1. I hosted TWO meal making parties!
2. I hosted a super fun formal dinner baby shower for me sweet friend!
3. My mom, Lindley Belle & I went out of town for a cousin's wedding!
4. I started working part-time at The GAP!
5. Attended a couple different "fall" gatherings!

Whew...perhaps at some point I'll actually post about some of those. HA! But for today, I just wanted to brag about my little Lindley Belle...I know, shocking right. 

Last night, my sweet little girl transformed into my real life Raggedy Ann doll! I had the MOST fun putting this costume together. 



~ The blue dress was an old dress of mine when I was her age.

~ The white "apron" was a dress from the summer. I cut a large piece off the bottom and hemmed it. 

~ Then I sewed on the red rick-rack all the way around.

~ I made this red bows with some random ribbon I had at home and attached them.

~ The wig is made out of some super cheapy yarn I got at Hobby Lobby and an old crocheted hat that she never wears. Attaching the yarn to the hat was prob the longest process of all, but I'm so glad I stuck with it because it really "made" the costume!

~ You can't see in this pic but the white lace bloomers she's wearing are an old pair of mine from when I was her age.

~ I am sad to say that the leggins are store bought. I was on a mission to find women's knee high sock and sew my own pair of baby legs (which is what I normally do...so easy and so much cheaper!) But I searched the city for knee high socks in that print and none where to be found. So her leggings in this picture are from My Little Legs.

~ I added a little face paint and DONE!

Trick or treating with her last night was a blast. At the first few houses she was very confused but eventually she got the idea. She would smile, wave "Hi" and "Bye" and even say "Thank you" after she reached into a bowl and grabbed her loot! Her Poppa (my dad) said that she stole Halloween!

 Here is a little video of my real live rag doll!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We Did It! Wednesday

Today I'm linking up my post from Monday with


Check out all the other cute links AND link up with us!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy Fall Y'all

As most of you know, I have a love hate relationship with summer time. I love all the cliche things about summer. No school for my hubby, the beach, longer days, cute clothes, cookouts, bright colors. You know the rest. But I hate, absolutely despise heat. I fall apart when I get too hot. Seriously. My sweet husband loves to cuddle and he has learned the hard way...hand off when momma is hot! Poor guy. All this to say, I'm super excited about this fall weather. The fact that I can walk to the mailbox, get the mail and walk back up to the house...and NOT want to punch someone in the face because the heat fairy has taken over...well it's like a miracle!

In honor of being able to stand outside for longer then 5 min, I wanted to make my first (of many) fall decor pieces. I usually get a little crafty when I find myself in a quiet house. Last night, Lindley Belle went to sleep at 8pm but my hubby didn't get home from a meeting till 10pm. 


So this was the result of my 2 hour "time to myself"!


More fall decorations to come. Yippee!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oh Happy Pink Day

Lindley Belle turned the big ONE year old a few weeks ago. My previous post, 365 Days talked about my hearts deepest celebration on that day.

But..

We of course had to have a little celebration for the 1 year anniversary of the birth of our little pink baby! I had the greatest time making each individual invitation, crafting the decor, planning the favors...and all the other things that goes onto planning a party for a little person!!...who doesn't even know it's their birthday.  Almost everything was hand made at home...it was so fun! Everyone has been asking when I would post a "party decor" post. So here you go blog world!

The food & cupcake table:


I made the cupcakes from scratch!




The drink station: orange-peach tea, water AND peach fizzy sangria! Served in mason jars with pink & grey paper straws.

This was Lindley Belle's "thrown for the party:


Singing "happy birthday" to our big girl!


We had a candy bar set up in the dining room:



The next few pics are not as pretty...they were taken with my phone, but I wanted y'all to see these too. 

This is a display of pictures from the hospital the day Lindley Belle was born. It was so sweet because almost everyone in these pictures, attended the party. It was a neat way to see the loyalty and love our friends and family have for our little Peapod (as her Poppa has lovingly called her since the day she was born!)


This is the invitation for the party. I handmade each one of them - it was so fun. With each one I got more and more excited!


This was 1 of the 2 outfits I made for Lindley Belle:






It's Was All So Easy

The "Backdrops" : tissue streamers pined to the ceiling with clear push pins. Twisted all the way down and secured to the floor with a little piece if double sided tape. Pin bed sheets behind the streamers so that you can't see thru. It really completed the back drop feel that I wanted. TIP - twist every other streamer in a different direction to get that "zig zag" effect.

Tissue Pom-Poms : SO simple and adds the perfect pop! I hung them at different heights with twine. Who doesn't love twine??  Instead of trying to explain it here, just go to this link...it's where I learned how to do it. Or just search "tissue pom pom" on pinterest.

Banners : I cut circles out of brown paper, then cut out letters (just a little smaller then the circles) that spelled out the messages I wanted. I used scrapbook take to secure the letters to the circles. Then using a hole punch, I made 2 holes at the top of each circle then thread twine thru the holes for hanging!

Tables : I used pink and lace tablecloths to give the party a simple vintage feel.

Candy Bar : I got an assortment of (mostly pink) candy, some vintage & some modern from all sorts of places. Fresh Market, Walgreens, Dollar Store and even a gas station! I mix and matched them in random glass bowls, cups pitchers. I thought the glass helped bring a "dainty" feel to it. 

There were also little pink paper bags that I  stamped "Thank You" on them so our guests could take home as much candy as they wanted!
The candy bar had:
pink lickerish twists
pink jelly beans
pink & white gumballs
pink sour patch kids
smarties
blow-pops
starbursts
peanut butter bars
pixy stix

Drink Station : Orange - Peach Tea was simple to do. I made Crystal Light peach tea the night before and added slices of oranges to soak throughout the night. It was yummy. The Pink Fizzy Sangria was the perfect little pink cocktail! It's 2 bottle of pink zinfandel, 2 can of frozen pink lemonade and 1 bottle of 7-up. The mason jars were bought at Hobby Lobby when they were 50% off so I got 30 for less then 30 bucks! The cute paper straws were found at Micheal's in the wedding section. And lastly, those cute drink dispensers were found at Target in the clearance section! $3.59 each!

Lindley Belle's Outfits : I really wanted to make the clothes she would wear for her party...so I did! The Tutu Outfit - First, I made a simple tulle tutu and added some fabric to it to match the fabric on the shirt and her headband. For the shirt, I tea stained one of her white tank tops. I wanted the teas stain effect to add a vintage feel. The, I cute out an O N E out of fabric and did a little applique to the shirt. I took that same fabric, made 2 rosettes (1 small and 1 big), glued them to twine and made a matching headband! The Pillow Case Dress : I already showed you guys this dress in my previous post, Sew What?. And if you are obsessed with detail, like I am, you can see that the ruffle on this dress is the same fabric on the other dress. I love little details like that!


 Our sweet Lindley Belle LOVES to wave. I'm so grateful we got this perfect family pic!



 Let me know if you have any questions about anything you see!
 I'm happy to help you plan your fun and CHEAP (homemade is always cheaper!) party!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sew What?

Seriously? I have no clue I knew how to sew. I got a wild hair a few weeks ago to sew one of those pillowcase style dresses for Lindley Belle for her birthday. Sounds pretty easy right?

I had never even thread a sewing machine when I sat down to make this dress. But I had already bought all the supplies so there was no turning back!

Well, several hours later and a rookie mistake of not trying the dress on my model half way thru so I had to start over I was pleasantly surprised at my outcome!



 I've unleashed a new passion! 


Since then I've made some (much needed) curtains for our living room 



and some super cute burp cloths for a friend's baby shower gift!