Monday, February 27, 2012

A Blogging Blackout

Hello Friends,
I just wanted to let you know that the blog will be quiet this week while I work on a double dose of a Week in the Life series.  Three months ago (holy cow!) I documented a Week in the Life when Lily was six months old and had every intention (but zero time) to post it back then and literally every week since! So in keeping with my goal of documenting a week in her life at age three, six, nine and twelve months, I am going to not do any posts aside from working on getting these weeks all documented, and uploaded.  Thank goodness I took good notes back when I did her six month "week"- I cannot believe how much has changed since then! I am hard at work on her nine month week right now (and just in the nick of time too)! 

So, all to say, next week there will be a double dose (age six months AND nine months) of A Week in the Life for you to enjoy!  I hope you have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So Long Sweetness!

A box of delicious dark chocolate candy from my sweetie
There is much I want to say about my decision to give up desserts for Lent this year.  I like the challenge of it, but mostly, I have been hearing a whisper in my heart lately that I need to take better care of myself than I have been.  I do not know how or why, but I seem to have fallen into a somewhat self destructive pattern with my eating lately and I'm determined to be different.  Feelings of guilt, shame, angst, fear, history, patterns, faith, worth, emotion, courage, security, strength and love are all tangled up in this one for me.  

I am not naive enough to believe that just giving up dessert for the next 40 days will solve all of my problems, or shed radical insight into personal areas of my heart that need changing.  As embarrassing as it is to admit, I have been loving dessert more than myself and even Jesus lately and I am ready for that to stop.

So as the next forty days unfold, I pray that my heart would be open to what God has to say to me about this area of my life that I have allowed to fall out of His control.  I'm not giving up dessert in effort to lose weight- at least physically.  However, I am trying to lose some spiritual weight I feel I have been carrying around lately.  I believe (in advance of the miracle) that Jesus can and will use the gaping hole left both on my plate and in my soul (that one I have been using dessert to fill or numb) for something He knows to be for my good and for His purposes. 

I simply cannot think of a better way to prepare my heart to celebrate and remember the life I have been given in Jesus through his death and resurrection on the cross, than to give up and surrender my beloved desserts- something I have been slowly allowing with each sweet, delicious bite, to steal my sense of life, vigor, energy, self esteem, hope and capability.  

Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying I will never have another bite of dessert again, or that dessert is evil or anything like that!  But for the next 40 days, I am going to practice intentionality where my eating dessert and relationship with Jesus are concerned - and I pray that I will encounter Jesus anew along the way.

after a few delicious!
Now, everyone say a little prayer for Joe and Lily as they are stuck with me while I do this!  Thank goodness they love me as I am and are really good sports!

Lily's reaction when I told her I was giving up dessert and that I needed her help.  (Just kidding!)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Having the Best Time!

 (Insert a photo of my happy laptop on a table at the coffee shop.  Sorry, I completely forgot to document the moment!)

Hi Friends!

I just had to write.  Today I started what I hope will become a regular routine for me on Saturday mornings.  I got up and hung out with the fam until Lily went down for her morning nap and then I packed up my laptop and headed out (gasp!) to a coffee shop to read some blogs and do some writing. (double gasp!)  It has been divine!  I love my husband so much for encouraging me to take this time for myself and it has been even more re-charging and energizing than I had even dared dream.  I'm sure that sounds dramatic, but it is true.

I like to have time to myself and well, with a little one around and weekends packed with activities it is just near impossible to get a good couple of hours completely to myself (let alone out of the house) where I don't feel like I should be doing something else before I sit down to enjoy my time (ie. laundry, cleaning, making the bed, picking up toys, doing dishes etc.)  So this morning's time has been an absolute gift and I'm feeling rather giddy!

I have spent some time catching up on some blog reading which is a luxury of mine that is easily neglected in the hustle and bustle of the day.  But today, I have had time to read, weep, be reminded, be encouraged, be delighted and inspired by so many of my "friends" in blogland that I just feel so excited.  It has been so much fun to see what people have been up to that I was encouraged to tinker with Lassoing a bit and give it some updates.  I still plan to have it professionally re-designed, but I have not yet contacted the designer to get things going in that, I just did a few tweaks myself.  Needless to say, it is a work in progress!  (Just like me!  Haha)

One of the things I'm most excited about is my new addition of the blogroll on the right hand side of the blog.  I know most blogs have this feature on them, but for whatever reason, I have not added it here until now despite my love for blogs and blogging!  So I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to some of these amazing bloggers/blogs that you may or may not know and share a little bit about why I love them.  (Note, this is just a mere scratch on the surface of the blogs on my reader, so this will be a list that I continue to add to as time goes by).  It will be fun to introduce you to some of my "friends!"

(In no particular order...)

A Holy Experience- This is Ann Voskamp's amazing blog.  You have heard me sing her praises here before about her incredible book, One Thousand Gifts.  Her blog is beautiful, her photos georgeous, and her writing poetic, raw and insightful.

(In)Courage- This was my first blog that I fell in love with and got me hooked on blogging.  It was started by a community of incredible women who love the Lord and who also love blogging and writing and encouraging other women in their own journeys, faith, marriages and growth.  Sometimes it feels hard to stay caught up with this one because they have multiple posts a day by many different writers, but it's because of the many different writers that I have found several other blogs that I love as well.  They typically link the writers to their own blogs so if you find a blogger whose post you love on (In)Courage, it is easy to find their blog and read more of their writing or story.  I have never checked this blog and not come away touched, inspired or encouraged.  It is one I recommend over and over again to friends of mine who are looking for new blogs to discover.

Chatting at the Sky- This was one I discovered thanks to (In)Courage.  Emily's writing is simply beautiful and I love that she approaches writing as art.  It is easy to forget that writing is a gift and something to be nurtured, developed, encouraged and grown.  She reminds me that it takes courage to stop and process what the eyes see into words of the heart.  I really admire her and am grateful to her for her authenticity in so many of her posts.  Her writing has spoken directly to my heart and into my own journey of pushing into fear toward developing into the woman God is calling me to become. 

The Lettered Cottage- My hubby sent me a link to this one that he discovered while reading the WSJ one day long ago.  Not only does this blog feed my love of house design, possibility and all things home decor on a budget, but Kevin and Layla's blog also about photography, inspiration, taking risks, courageously pursuing dreams, and developing your heart and spirit along the way.  They are positive, funny, authentic and real.  Their blog is one I always check whenever I get a chance.

Kelly Rae Roberts-  Those of you who know me well, know of my love for KRR's art.  I seem to have some of her art in nearly every room in our house! It's a little bit crazy, but not really once you see  how awesome it is.  Her creative spirit is so inspiring to me- a non artist.  She creates pieces that are inspiring, encouraging and uplifting not to mention beautiful.  I have been reading her blog since before she made it big commercially and she has remained true to herself, her work, her family and the struggle of the journey the entire time.  She is genuine and she is lovely and she is real when she writes about the difficulty of balancing work, motherhood, creativity and real life.  I had to take a break from her blog for awhile when she had her little boy. It felt very raw to me to read about her adjusting to new motherhood of a sweet little son so close after I lost my own, but I have since gone back and gotten caught up on her life and was simply reminded of how much I admire her authenticity and her zest for life.  She is a wonderful writer and artist and I could not be a bigger fan.

My Pink Life- This is Aimee's blog.  I do not know Aimee in real life (nor do I know any of these bloggers for that matter!) but hers is a blog that I love to read on a regular basis.  She is a stay at home mother of three, she has a creative streak a mile wide and her blog is one that is a lot of fun.  She also lives near some killer thrift stores and has a fun sense of style.

Miss Mustard Seed- Hers is a blog that I discovered about a year and a half ago.  I do not remember how I found it, but I love to check in on her latest creations.  She posts nearly every day (I do not know how she does it all) and she has an amazing ability to transform mundane (sometimes ugly) pieces of furniture into beautiful pieces that anyone would love to have in their homes.  She is great about how-tos and video tutorials and I enjoy her never ending creativity and vision.  Hers is a blog that I love to look at for eye candy purposes and with the thought in the back of my head saying, "Hmmm...maybe I could do that!"  (I do not pretend that it would be easy, but she makes it look possible.)  She has great staging and styling posts as well as some good info about photography in the home.  Her blog makes me anxious to get our stuff out of storage so I too can begin arranging my pretty things all over our house again and work on my own photography skills!

ShutterSisters- This is another community of women who love blogging and photography (two of my loves).  I do not check this one all the time, but whenever I am feeling low on inspiration or ideas I check in here and am blown away by the talent and spirit of community I find here.  I have found many other wonderful blogs from this one as well.  They are always good about linking the writers to their own blogs for further discovery and connection.  I am always in awe of how much creative talent there is out there in the world and how cool it is that all of these amazing women have connected via the internet to form such a welcoming, encouraging community.  Check it out if you are looking for inspiration and beauty.

Living Proof Ministry- Beth Moore has long been my hands down favorite bible study teacher for years.  I consider her to be one of my life mentors.  Her dedication to Jesus and relentless pursuit to bring women closer to him through the study of his Word is just awesome.  If you have not had the joy of sitting under her teaching, do not miss a chance if one presents itself...whether it is through one of her bible studies, a book she has written or a chance to hear her speak in person.  A couple of years ago, she started a blog and I LOVE reading it because she writes like she talks.  She is energetic, genuine, dedicated to Christ and so, so wise.  She writes her blog like she is writing an email to her dear friends...and she includes YOU in that category!  It is fun to read because you just feel like you are sitting across the table from her listening to her as you read.  She is one of my heroes to be sure.

Hooked on Houses- This blog is packed full of house-love-eye-candy.  It is one of my favorites to just peruse when I have a few minutes. She lists real estate listings from all over the world, celebrity homes, her own home, movie homes...her blog is awesome if you have even the tiniest interest in peeking inside beautiful homes.

There are so many amazing blogs out there- it was so much fun for me today to take some time and tell you about these as they have all been bright spots in my day and life in recent years.  My apologies if I have mentioned these all to you before, but I just love these gals and they are always bright spots in my day so I wanted to make sure you knew about them too.  There are so many more that I love and I look forward to introducing you to many more in the months to come. I hope you enjoy checking out their blogs as much as I do!

I am going to sign off for now- my laptop battery is almost out, my coffee is now cold, my hubby sent me a text a while ago saying that Lily is up back at home ready for lunch and there is a loud talker over my shoulder (about age 60) who enjoys using profanity every other word.  (Really? Yes, Really.)  So in effort to preserve my positive state of mind and level of energy, I'm going to sign off and head home to some toothless smiles and big hugs.  

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Letter to my Husband on Valentine's Day

My Dearest Valentine, 
You love me well.  You, my handsome husband, are my knight in shining armor, rescuing me each day with your smooches, smiles, phone calls, and words of encouragement.  You have been my rock when I needed stability, and my anchor in many storms.  You take excellent care of me when I am sick or hurt and are the most incredible father to our children.  You are my lover, provider, leader, encourager, tour guide, culinary explorer, coffee roaster, supporter, reader, companion, nurse, muscle, chef, cozy companion, guinea pig, furniture mover, partner, soul mate and my best friend. I long to celebrate my love for you each day, and hate that I sometimes simply fall short.  I don't remember hearing any angels singing or feeling as if the world stood still the moment I first met you, but I know that I hear them and feel that way on a regular basis ever since you came into my life. (As you know, my heart beats wildly for you).  We have weathered many of life's ups and downs together in our three years of marriage and I will say it again, there is no one I would rather have beside me.  You are my dream come true.  I'm absolutely crazy about you.

You are my true love.

on our engagement day June 29, 2008
Happy Valentine's Day Babe!
your adoring wife

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Glimpse of Me

Hello Friends!

I'm sitting here enjoying the few moments of the day I have to myself (after baby goes to bed and fifteen before hubby gets home) thinking about my life.  I thought since I have not written all week, I'd give you a little glimpse....

Where I currently am: In a recliner in our front room, laptop on my lap,  "reclining" on a giant ice pack while wrapped in a blanket.

What has been #1 on my mind this past week: My back.  I threw it out last Friday afternoon and have been in almost constant discomfort and pain since.  I think about it non-stop.  My husband has been amazing and has really helped pick up my slack around here since I pretty much cannot bend or lift.  My mom has been a hero by spending a lot of her days helping me care for Lily.  I have am fortunate to have many friends who have helped me with supplies, recommendations, numbers for their physical therapist pals etc.  But still.  This is the 4th or 5th time this has happened to me in my life and every time, I feel like I will never walk or function normally ever again...which may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it feels very true.

The high point of my day: Naptime.  She took two good naps today!  I adore my little gal, but she is on the GO these days and so when she is awake, it is all motion, all the time and usually I'm on the floor with her.  Normally I love this and it is the best part of my day, however, with my trick back, being on the floor has not been too fun this week. So naptime = rest, stretching, ice and Downton Abbey reruns.

The low point: When Lily made a break for the stairs in my parent's basement (to go up them, not down) and I was on the floor and had to move really quickly, then bend over and scoop her up before she could "discover" this new fun "toy" in Nana and Grandpa's basement.  I'm sure I was not moving all that quickly, but according to my back, I was moving waaaay too fast and in the wrong directions.  (See what I mean about my back dominating my life these days?) Ugh.

What is for dinner:  I am currently defrosting some Seafood Chowder leftovers that we had in our freezer.  This week has been almost all freezer meals that I had on hand or carry out.  It has been nice, but I'm going to have to do some batch cooking to restock after this week!

What I'm listening to: Quiet.  Blissful quiet.

What I'm being challenged by these days: (Okay, aside from my back) Trying to figure out what God is calling me to do.  I know I am busy with my own full time job running the household and taking care of Lily, but I also feel like I have more I could be doing. 

What I wish was different: I wish I was in better shape and that we had a money tree that grew in the back yard (and of course that Luke was here- that one goes without saying).

 What I'm looking forward to this weekend: Celebrating our anniversary.  We are going on a real date tomorrow night to dinner and a movie (in a theater)!  It will be our first time seeing a movie in a movie theater since before Lily was born.

What I'm afraid of: Always being out of shape and feeling way older than I am- like I do now.

What I've been putting off:  I have been wanting to try making these homemade Lara bars (energy bars).  I have all of the ingredients, but none of the energy or courage (I have never cooked with or purchased dates until now, so it feels a little bit like a learning curve) to tackle them.  Perhaps this weekend... that and a craft project I started in early December for Valentine's Day.  I seriously have not done another thing to it since I started it aside from shuffle it around the house from pile to pile and it is only about 20% finished and now Valentine's Day is Tuesday.  Yikes!  Would love to have that finished in time!

My gratitude gifts for today: a large, clean baby safe basement at my parent's house where Lily can safely play and roam freely (aside from those pesky stairs at the other end of the basement!), good naps from my little gal today, Downton Abbey Season 1 on Netflix, large ice packs, many happy smiles and giggles from my sweet, little companion

Well, there you have it- a little glimpse into my world today.  I hope you are doing well and have been enjoying your week!   Happy Friday Eve everyone!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lily is 9 Months Old!

 Hello Everyone!

I'm nine months old today!  These days I'm busier than ever.  I have been keeping my mom on her toes in many areas of life. 

I continue to pull myself up on everything I can reach...sometimes its the couch, a foot stool, a swing, my toy basket or even people's legs.  I am very steady and sure footed when I am standing too.  I have recently started "cruising" (i.e. walking along the furniture) around the room while standing.  

On a few occasions I have taken some steps on my own while walking behind my toy basket as I push it along.  It is a lot of fun to see everything from my new perspective.

When I'm not standing, I love crawling all over the house.  I'm getting faster and faster and love to follow people when they walk by me.  Mom and I have been spending many afternoons at various local parks around town.  

I could just swing in the bucket swings for hours.  I love having hair that now blows in the wind while I swing.  It is so much fun to see the other people and doggies at the parks too.  That is one of my favorite things to do.

I have enjoyed several play dates this past month and have even joined a play group! I love to see other babies and I try my best to control myself and not crawl all over them, but that does not always work out. 

I love music and like to dance while I'm standing up holding onto things.  My favorite songs right now are Old MacDonald, Apples and Bananas and John Jacob Jingleheimerschmidt.  Those always make me laugh and clap.

I sleep great at night and in the mornings, but lately my afternoon naps have been kind of hit or miss.  I love to just play in my crib and talk and talk and talk to myself instead of napping the afternoons. 

I think I am kind of giving my mom fits about that one.  She is trying to figure me out, but so far, she has not cracked the code. 

Another area my mom is trying to figure out with me is my eating.  I love my solid food and have been learning to even eat with my fingers and feed myself!  

However, when it comes to drinking from my bottle, I had to show my mom that I now only wanted to drink from my sippy cup.  That took several days for her to figure out what I was trying to tell her we were both pretty frustrated, but we got it!  

But now, I am not sure why, but I just don't feel like eating much formula these days- period.  I know my mom is worried, but I just cannot help it.  Hopefully we will get things worked out soon and get back on track soon!

I still do not have any teeth yet, so I do a lot of drooling and I love to put everything in my mouth.  I love to read books and play in my exersaucer.  

Cheerios are my favorite finger food and I adore applesauce.  I've become quite a wiggle worm on the changing table and I am super excited and ready to go every time I wake up.  

I have lots of energy and zest for exploring.  I love my life and can't wait to see what is going to happen this next month!