Friday, May 29, 2015

A Bit of my "Blogger Testimony"

Recently a conversation with a fellow blogger arose where she admitted her discouragement with audience numbers on her blog, resulting in a lack of motivation to write. I offered her advice on how to increase her views via many social platforms, but I offered it with caution. I share this with you because I think all bloggers, not just my friend, can relate to a bit of my "blogger testimony". This is what I told her...

I wanted instant audience growth the moment I set my blog up and scoured any and all social outlets to expand my views. It helped, but it was becoming such an obsession that I had to stop looking at my "stats" and take off the Google+ reader widget that showed how many followers I had. It didn't take me long to realize that I was joining the popularity wars of high school all over again via my blog. I forgot how easy it was/is to be sucked into that nonsense. So I'll give you what I did (that worked), with caution. Don't let it get you down. In God's sovereignty, people will read what they need to read the moment they need to read it. If you reach the one person God intended, nothing else matters. Once I took on that mentality my views actually increased. The question I had to ask was, Who's glory am I truly writing for? If it's honestly for HIS, my audience pry won't be very big and my topics popular.   
I hope that my blogger faux pas helped you. If it doesn't apply to you, sorry, you just got a bit of my "blogger testimony" (haha). In reality I have no idea how many people from each social platform read my blog and I choose not to find out (for the reasons I wrote about previously) but I think you'll be surprised how quickly your blog will spread by "advertising" your blog on the platforms that interest you (not just Facebook).

On the day of my "blogger anniversary" I thought it appropriate to give my readers a bit of honest transparency behind my blog. Writing has always been a passion and I am super thankful for this outlet to share what I write. What amazes me is looking back at what I wrote 3 years ago and how much I've changed since then. I am excited to see the work God does in my life over the next 3 years and hopefully as I keep blogging you'll see it too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tuesday's Top Ten [Sweet Childhood Memories]

I spent my childhood in four different states and most of my adulthood in the fifth. I can honestly say that each state is beautiful for its own special reason, but most of my sweet childhood memories are from deep in the Ozarks or the panhandle of Oklahoma. Still, no matter where I go as I reminisce I am thankful for these sweet memories and the tears, smiles, giggles and head shaking they all generate...

Some of my best memories of childhood revolve around the games my siblings and I invented. We watched The Borrowers and pretended our Barbie dolls were Borrowers. We pretended to live in the 1800's (probably from reading the books and watching Little House on the Prairie or Anne of Green Gables or Polyanna or Heidi). The name of that game was "Old Timey". We also built countless Lego towns, vehicles, farms and spent HOURS playing and playing and playing. This was by far our favorite activity and we still pull out the boxes of Lego's we collected over the years almost every Christmas. I can't tell you how many houses we built out of sticks and stones, using Hot Wheels and creating roads in the dirt or sandbox. I believe that the relationship I still have with my siblings is a result of the time we spent together playing and using our imaginations. Those are hours I'll forever cherish.

Some of my best memories also revolve around the stories my mom read to us, like Little House on a Prairie and the movies we'd watch with them. Perhaps that's why I enjoy books so much as an adult, because cherished childhood memories revolve around stories and the games we played because of them.

One story my family repeats nearly every time we're together is of my sister who was constantly tormented by a mean old goose we named, Papa Duck. He only chased her for some reason, which makes this memory extra funny. One particular morning she was outside on the porch. The moment Papa Duck saw her he took off after her. Instead of going back inside, she took off, ran around the church, through a sticker patch, barefoot across the gravel parking lot and back inside where she was originally standing before the chase began. That memory still makes me giggle. I mention that one, but so many of my childhood memories revolve around the farm I was blessed to live on where my love for animals came alive. I specifically remember loving a little black and white kitten I named Harry the most. I'd spend many hours in the barn with Harry and my siblings...

Some of our best times as a family were on Christmas Eve. After we attended the Christmas Eve service we'd stay up opening presents one by one, eating lots of yummy food, laughing and enjoying each other. Those were sweet times...

Our bikes given to us on one such Christmas offered many, many memories as we rode around town with our friends, biking the same trails over and over and over again, speeding down the same street that housed the dog that would chase us just for a thrill, enjoying the freedom and the wind in our faces. We didn't have to talk... we just had to ride...

So many more of my memories revolve around a bike ride to the forbidden school that was shut down many years before moving to this little town. There was one door always open and we spent many hours exploring all the secrets of this creepy, wonderful building (while trying not to get caught). 

My brother and I spent many hours training for our favorite sports. We'd weight lift, do sprints up hills, and play countless games of basketball with our neighbor friends. I was typically the only girl and I'm still thankful for the fact that my brother offered me no favors because I was a girl. 

I can still remember the order all six of my family members crammed into the little orange Nissan truck my dad owned: my dad drove, my brother sat in the middle with Mel on his lap, mom sat on the passenger side with me on her lap and my baby sister in mine. On days when we'd trek down the road to go into the woods for firewood we'd cuddle up and eat sweet potato wedges my mom roasted on the fireplace. Those days in the woods were not only full of hard work, but they were also filled with fun. Days in the Ozark wilderness offered so much joy for my family. We'd visit the same waterfall every summer and come home covered in ticks. Swimming in the Ozark lakes and rivers was a favorite summer pastime, one I'd still enjoy. It was on these days I'd roam the shores adding some pretty cool rocks to my rock collection (which I still own). Another outdoor activity I thoroughly enjoyed was exploring caves my dad discovered. Fun times.

I still smile when I think of late night conversations with my sisters in our bunk beds. I was forced to share a room with both of them and at the time I thought it was torture, but I have some pretty special memories of late night giggling only girls can truly understand the value of...

You want to know the best place to hysterically laugh and smile and cry and shake our head over all these sweet memories? The dinner table. It never fails to amaze me that some of my best memories revolve around our time eating together as a family. That's where the most silly, out-of-control, breathless, laughter occurred. 

So much of who I am today and what I cherish and even what I write here, revolve around some of these sweet memories. What a fun way to spend a Tuesday. I'm sure Melany would agree.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tuesday's Top Ten Plus Ten [My Dream _____.]

I enjoy these fill in the blank topics because there's so many possibilities! It's been fun telling you about a few of my dreams. Don't forget to check out Melany's list...

1. My Dream Vacation: Italy. There's lots of places I want to go, but Italy has been #1 on my list since I was little and stole a National Geographic from my Great Grandfather (shhhhh don't tell) that had the story of Mt. Vesuvius, Pompeii and Herculaneum (it was a 1984 edition, the year I was born, which is what caught my eye in the first place). And yes, I still have it.

2. My Dream Home. Has an open layout with the living room, kitchen and dining room all as one big room. I want a big kitchen because that's where family gathers. A fireplace is a must. A big closet and bathtub would also be nice. Oh, oh, oh and a beautiful library! I have lots of dream ideas for a future home on my Pinterest board, Dream a Little Dream, but if none of those ideas come to fruition I'm okay with that. I'm 110% positive God has something perfect in mind for my mansion in heaven.

3. My Dream Car. Has always been a bug. I got to drive one for a few years before having to get rid of it. (It's just not a family friendly car. Sad face.) I'm super thankful I got to own my dream car, most people aren't able to say that...

4. My Dream 5 years from now... is to have my student loan debt paid off and I'd also like to be back in the classroom. We shall see what God has in store!

5. My Dream 20 years from now... I'd like to have a vow renewal ceremony. When I originally promised Kyle to love and honor him for the rest of my life, I didn't really mean it. For the first year of our marriage I tossed around the "D" word every time an issue came up. I was manipulative and selfish. I simply want to celebrate the promise I made 25 years into marriage and actually mean it when I say it front of family and friends this time around. Plus, our vows have so much more meaning behind it now that I understand marriage in relation to Christ and the church body. This experience will definitely be CHRIST centered and less me centered.

6. My Dream is to adopt someday. I know there's many, many, many little children running around needing a loving home. I saw many walk through my classroom, which inspired this idea in the first place.

7. My Dream classroom includes a loaded library, the latest Apple technology, well-behaved kids that want to learn, supportive parents, a team of teachers that love working together, a supportive principal and superintendent, small classroom sizes... you know all the stuff that's unrealistic in America's education system...

8. My Dream party includes ballroom dancing, fancy dresses, good food, wonderful friends, and an evening without my two left feet where I could dance with elegance and grace...

9. My Dream is to spread the message of hope wherever God leads me.

10. My ultimate dream is quite simple: I just want to grow old with my love and best friend and raise his babies in the knowledge of Jesus Christ according to His Word. If that all that God offers me in this lifetime, I'll die happy.

Monday, May 18, 2015

This helped me avoid nausea during the first trimester...

I had two particularly awful days where I really screwed two things up:

1. Water. With this pregnancy I have cotton mouth like no other, which made my gag reflexes ultra sensitive. I'm not a fan of drinking plain water so I find it difficult to drink it consistently throughout my day. Typically, I chug the recommended amount (seriously) and enjoy drinks like Earl Grey tea in between. I could not do that with pregnancy. If I drink water constantly, it helps keep nausea at bay.

2. Not skipping meals. This seems like a no brainer, but when nothing sounded good I just wouldn't eat anything. I learned the hard way that it was way better for me to eat slowly (even if I didn't enjoy it) than to skip a meal altogether. In fact, eating every 1 or 2 hours was the best thing I could've done for myself. One day I woke up to a juice (see #5) and a bowl of oatmeal. I couldn't stomach the oatmeal, so I tried something else (to no avail). As a result I was behind a meal and spent the rest of the day trying to catch up. It was not a good day. Those days happen, but hindsight, I should've gagged down the oatmeal.

As the days went slowly on, I realized that these two things alone weren't cutting it. I was still nauseous. So I asked for some advice from some of my friends and family who had been prego many times before me, here's some of the suggestions that worked: (The frustrating part about this list is that one would work one time and wouldn't the next, but I hope there's something in this list that gives you some relief!)

3. Peppermint. I had peppermint candies on hand to suck on. They're definitely a stomach calmer. BUT the ultimate "cure" for nausea was peppermint essential oil. I just dabbed a bit behind my ears when I felt super nauseous and it helped me avoid throwing up.

4. Sea Bands. I especially appreciated these when I rode in the car for any period of time.

5. Juicing. This, I believed, played the biggest role in keeping nausea away. I woke up in the morning to a juice, water and some saltines. Then I ate breakfast. If I woke up in the middle of the night with nausea, I again juiced, drank water and ate some saltines. Every time I felt nauseous I believe it was because my body was craving the nutrients that a juicer provides. I knew I needed fruits and vegetables, but sometimes it was hard to chew them. Juicing them was so much easier for me. A drink was tolerable to my gagging reflexes when chewing wasn't. Juicing saved me. Here's a few of my favorite mixes:
  • 2 Carrots + 1 Orange
  • 1 Carrot + 1 Apple + 1/4 C. Pineapple + Mint Leaves
  • 1 Apple + 1 Orange + 1 small Lime + Mint Leaves
6. Saltines. These gems proved time and time again worthy of being named the #1 recommended sick food. When my stomach was churning, I'd eat a couple of these and enjoyed the instant results.

7. Ginger Ale. Ginger works wonders on ale-ing tummies. I was glad - on more than one occasion - to have this around.

8. Chicken Broth. Warmed up, ready to drink chicken broth may sound disgusting, but it was a life saver on many days when eating proved difficult. Add saltines and you have a stomach calmer-downer. There were many, many occasions that chewing was more difficult that simply swallowing liquids. This provided substance and helped more times than I can possibly count.

9. Magnesium. This article got me interested in adding magnesium to my daily routine. Even after constantly snacking, juicing, munching on saltines, drinking lots of water, sucking on peppermint candies, &etc. I still had bad days. Evenings proved the most difficult and dinner was the hardest meal of the day to swallow. Even if I had one good day the next day was not. My body needed something else, so when I read this article I was convinced that this was at least worth a shot. I was 7 weeks in, had been enduring 3 weeks of sickness, and was counting down the first trimester flu. With Briella Bean I was sick up until 14 weeks. I did not want another 7 weeks of feeling like this! I can't say whether or not it actually worked, but curiosity alone made me try it.

10. Snacking. If my stomach was empty... oh man... it was horrible. Once it was empty, I was sick. Once I was sick, it was hard to eat. When I couldn't eat, it became extremely difficult to catch up. An empty tummy was the worst possible thing while prego.

11. Probiotic Enzyme. This particular item was also a lifesaver. I took one after every meal (it helps promote nutrient absorption which is what many mommy's are lacking - nutrients). Get this. I'm beyond thankful a friend got it for me. (Plus, this one tasted super yummy.)

12. This is going to sound super weird, but I could not stand to swallow prenatal pills. I spent the entire day gagging over the residual fish taste in my mouth. It was awful. So my sweet husband purchased the chewable prenatals and that saved the day! I don't know why I wasn't gagging on a nasty fishy burp with the chewables vs the pill, but it made all the difference in nausea. Seriously.

During that first trimester I was constantly reading about morning sickness this and morning sickness that (desperately trying to find relief). I was more sick in the evening that I ever was in the morning, with both pregnancies. Thankfully, each of these items listed helped make the flu like symptoms tolerable. I'm sure that other momma's have things they could add to this list and I encourage you to do so in the comment section. If I can help just one mommy avoid nausea, I'd say this post was well worth it.

If you're reading this a congratulations is in order! And if you're anything like me during the first trimester - ha - well, prayer is your best friend. 
Add that to the list. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Let It Go

I wrote this days before giving birth to Eleanna and felt the need to share it. It's one of many answers to prayer and reading this post weeks after her birth has been quite an awesome reflection...


The Frozen's song Let It Go is one of my daughters favorites to sing throughout her day. She knows the song pretty well, but sings the chorus almost word for word,
Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door!

It's in the chorus, that I hear quite often throughout my day, that reminds me I too need to let it go, turn away, and slam the door. It's amazing how my daughter singing this song stands as a constant reminder that I need to let it go.

The "it" in my life is right now are these past experiences: Brielle's Birth and My Flight for Life.

I'm letting the experience of my daughter's birth give root to bitterness and fear. By allowing bitterness and fear to spring up over and over again I lose sight of what God is teaching me and I also forget that I need to give "it" to HIM. Throughout this pregnancy God has planted specific incidents that forced me to trust Him. The lesson on Sunday in Hebrews and my conversation with my husband last night were two such milestones that helped me realize I need to let go and let God.

We have been going through the book of Hebrews, word by word, sentence by sentence, chapter by chapter, every Sunday for nearly a year. I cannot tell you how much I love it. We're nearing the end; which saddens me. Words cannot express how God revealing this book to me has helped me rest in Christ, trust Him, and understand that HE IS far BETTER than everything.

God used this last Sunday's lesson to drive home that "you need to rely on ME" truth. You see just when I think I've worked through the fears and frustrations of those experiences I meet with my doctor to discuss my birth plan. She is very supportive of my med-free and intervention free aspirations and even offers advice and suggestions on how to make this possible. However, she also outlines a few concerns if the birth were not to go as hoped and what to expect in her decision processes from that point on. I am extremely thankful for this approach, but it also reawakened the fears and frustrations I thought were dealt with. Just when I think I've let it go and trust God, fears of the unknown creep up in my heart and my husband had to, once again, remind me to pray. 

That same day I contacted a few of my prayer warrior friends and asked them to join me in prayer. That alone was comforting, but the more I prayed the better I felt.
Lord, You know my heart. You know what it desires and the reasons for it. Help me to let my plan go and trust in YOUR plan. Do what seems best to You. No matter the outcome I will give you glory, I will praise you, I will give thanks to You in all circumstances because you are faithful, trustworthy, sovereign, wise, powerful... Help me to trust in You. 
This prayer was on repeat for many days and then I heard the lesson from Hebrews 12:1-17 on Sunday that outlined these truths:
  • God will use things in this life to prepare us for eternity! 
  • The Bible and the stories in it of people enduring hardships and keeping their faith exist so we do not lose faith either! Jesus is our perfect example, consider what He endured, consider what He accomplished! Consider Him so that we don't grow weary. 
  • Keep your eyes on the finish line and never sacrifice the temporal for the eternal. 
  • God does not always work to make our life better, He works to make us stronger.
Instead of trusting in the truths of God's word I was struggling with my not being in control,
Me: "God! I can't do anything about this!"
God: "I know! That's why you MUST trust ME!"

Those truths plucked on my heart strings as much as my conversation with my hubby last night. I'm reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth right now. Ina May is a world renown midwife who has delivered nearly 3,000 babies (attending the birth from beginning to end) and has knowledge to share.  I have learned so much about how my body works in the process of delivering a baby! Ina May spends a significant amount of time offering encouragement, ideas and suggestions on the how's, why's and what's of a natural birth. One vital aspect of delivering is relaxation. I was not at all relaxed in Brielle's birth. The environment was stressful, I did not receive support from my doctor, and and and and and I could go on forever. Kyle asked me to do a few things: 1. let go and completely forget about my past experience. 2. listen to him 3. let him handle the stress. That's his job. My job is to focus on the intense work that's ahead of me. It never occurred to me that I wasn't allowing Kyle to do his job as my husband during labor and delivery. I need to trust him to provide for my needs, protect me, nourish and cherish me even in the birthing process. 

So here's what this conversation made me remember: I live in a beautiful bubble where I trust in God's sovereignty and the man He gave me to provide, protect, nourish, and cherish me in all aspects of life. That leaves me free to work on what God has given me to work on: bringing life into this world. That alone entails so much work that I should not have to focus on anything else. What a beautiful job I have!

Once I let it go and let God work in my life I feel at peace. Once I begin to focus on anything but HIM, I lose sight of what He's given me and what He's teaching me. It reminds me of a quote from long ago, but one I need to remember, "You cannot drive into the future looking in the rearview mirror." Let my past go and let God work.

May the Lord do what seems good to Him. 


This blog has served as a journal on many occasions where transparency in my struggles and fears allows others to see me as I truly am: human. I never, ever want to come across as a person who "has it all together". I instead want to be seen as an imperfect individual who's learning and growing as I face all the lessons God plants in my path. I hope it gives perspective on your own fears and struggles. We will face them in this lifetime, the key is how we face them. My intention is to face them together, as one united front, praying for one another, rejoicing with one another, giving thanks in all circumstances, and praising God with one voice.

Soli Deo Gloria, To God be the Glory!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Newborn Dependency & Mommy Dependency

I have a three week old and her dependency on me for everything helped me reflect on my own dependency. My sweet little bundle depends on me for all life's necessities: cleanliness, food, safety, and even sleep. Babies do not have wants, they have needs and it is mommy's job to fulfill them.

Like newborns, mommy's have similar needs. It does not matter whether or not we accept the authority of Scripture and actually believe everything it states about our dependency, the truth is quite simply that, like my three week old, we depend on God for everything. The Bible states that everything under the sun is His. When David prays to God after the Israelites gave riches galore for the building of the temple he reveals just how much we depend on Him,
"Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and the earth is yours." (1 Chronicles 29:11) 
He goes on to say that what they've given, they're just giving back,
"For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you." (1 Chronicles 29:14) 
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:25-34 not to worry because He provides our clothing and our food. The Bible clearly states that He gives and takes away (Job 1:21). Our dependency goes as far as our own salvation! For Paul states over and over again in his letters, but it's explicitly clear in Ephesians that we are dead in our sin and are alive only because of the work Christ accomplished on the cross,
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is n ow at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved, and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:1-9, bolded mine) 
Once we cast away our fears and rely on God for things that are seemingly small in nature (like food and clothing) we begin to see His hand in the big things as well. It is so easy to see God's sovereign hand in life when we focus on His sovereign hand in the Bible. And the Bible has much to say about all that He's in control of and just how far our dependency reaches. Once we understand our dependency, trusting Him becomes easier and worrying becomes less.

So on days like today when I am forced to trust in God after coming home to our car being involved in a hit and run, I must trust Him. Or when I struggle with selfishness, pride, foolishness, faithlessness, I must trust Him to change my heart. Whether our pantry is full or empty, I must trust Him. Whether our bank account is full or empty, I must trust Him. On those days my children test my patience, trust Him.

Trust Him with childlike dependence.

Like newborns trust their mommy's, mommy's depend on God the same way.

How do we let go and trust Him in all circumstances?

On those days when your trust wavers pray.

When you're having "one of those days" go to Scripture and read stories of men and women who trusted in God in all circumstances: Abraham when God told him to sacrifice his only son (Genesis 22), Joseph's response after his brothers sold him into slavery (50:20), Job when he lost everything (Job 38-42), Naomi when she to lost her husband and sons (Ruth 1-4)... Despite the pride of Joseph when he spoke to his brothers before they sold him, or Job's inability to stop talking and consider the wondrous works of God, or Naomi's bitterness... God was and is faithful. He is worthy of trust because He is sovereign, wise, mighty, and everything belongs to Him, even our own breath.

John Piper articulates the importance of Scripture best with this incredible statement,
"Scripture was written to awaken and sustain our hope, especially in times of suffering when you are tempted to think that God's sovereignty is not believable."

Finally, on those days trust wavers, listen to the lyrics in this incredible song, Sovereign Over Us by Aaron Keyes.

When beyond our understanding, You're teaching us to trust... 
Even in the valley You are faithful!

Lord, help me to depend on you like my newborn depends on me! In good times and in bad, I know you are faithful and worthy of trust.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tuesday's Top Ten Plus Ten [Toys I'll Never Give Up]

Guess how long it took me to come up with this list...

I bet you'll never believe me (or perhaps you'll understand all too well) that it took less than 5 minutes. These are toys that bring out the inner child in me, so I'll never give them up.
The truth behind that statement is what inspired this top ten topic and I'm sure Melany would agree. In fact, she's so good at entertaining littles that I'm quite positive her list is a fantastic one.
Plus, being a parent gives a great excuse to pull out your favorite toys and join your kids on the floor to play and imagine and create and act like a kid all over again! Without further ado here's the list of 10 toys I'll never give up...

1. Doll Houses and Dress-Up Dolls. I love setting up a little house and dressing up the little dolls to live in it. I doubt that hankering to play "house" goes away in little girls. God gave our hearts the desire to manage a home from day one.

2. Lego's. There's just something about building that could entertain me for hours. Growing up this was our favorite activity. We spent days building a Lego town and playing in it. I don't know if it's the memories with my siblings that make this toy an all time favorite, but the yearning to play Lego's comes up occasionally (especially if all four of us get together). In fact, I actually have Lego sets in my "wish list" on Amazon for the day Bean and I can begin putting them together. This is one of them:
A Lego treehouse! How cool is that?

3. Lincoln Logs. This is an all time classic and ranks up there with Lego's for the very same reason.

4. Crayons and Coloring Books. This is another one of my favorite activities to do with my Briella Bean. I'm a hoarder in many areas of my life and this is one of them... I have a hard time tossing the pictures we color... sigh...

5. Tea Party. I love tea parties! There's so many options to make this a memorable experience: dress up, real tea, cookies, outside or inside, beautiful conversation with your littlest blessing... I love playing tea party even as an adult for all those same reasons I enjoyed it so much as a little girl. Now I get to enjoy it with my own little girl.

6. Lite-Brite. We don't actually own one of these right now because of the small pieces but this gem is also in my Amazon wish list:
I love any toy that requires imagination and creating! This is one that accomplishes both. (They even sell "refill packs" galore with many different picture options. So cool! Lite-Brite has come a long way since my childhood.)

7. Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I don't care what people say, they are the cutest little couple Disney came up with. We have Mickey and Minnie stuffed toys, Mickey and Minnie match cards, Mickey and Minnie dress up ears and clothes, Mickey and Minnie this and Mickey and Minnie that.

8. Puzzles. One of my favorite gifts from Kyle was a giant Mickey and Minnie puzzle (shocking I know) with so many intricate pieces that it forced us to think and have great conversation while putting it together. He said that was his motivation for getting it and it was a wonderful way to spend our evenings together when we were first married. Thankfully, my daughter seems to enjoy this pastime as much as her mommy and daddy.

9. Sand Box. This also offered hours of entertainment growing up. My dad built a rather large one for our backyard in Arkansas and we spent many summer days playing in it. We loved being barefoot, building roads for our cars, sand castles, burying each other... so many memories that I want to repeat with my own children.

10. Sleds. I will never, ever get over this snowy day activity that includes giggles, snow angels, and hot chocolate afterwards...

I very much enjoyed making this list! I think it's time to stop writing about it, grab my daughter and play with one of these toys. Memories to be made....

Monday, May 4, 2015

4 Books Every Expectant Mommy Needs on Her Shelf

I'm trying to get back on track with my Mommy Monday's and this is a great place to start. I love books and I love sharing what I've read. Plus these helped me tremendously and each in different ways.

1. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth - I highly recommend this book for many reasons, but the most important reason: you'll have a deeper understanding of your body and what it's meant to do on the day your baby enters this world. You'll be able to make informed decisions on your labor and delivery - before, during, and after.

2. The Complete Book of Breastfeeding - I am so so so so so so thankful a friend gave me this book as well. It's absolutely amazing all the things I didn't know about feeding my baby! My lactation consultant with Bean was absolutely amazed at all I knew and I was able to confidently breastfeed Brielle for 12 months. The lactation consultant I had with Ele suggested I start a breastfeeding support group in my town. I credit it to this book and all that I learned by reading it.

3. Your Pregnancy Week by Week - This is a fun book that details all the progress your baby makes as he/she grows inside you. Plus the authors detail what your body may be experiencing as well. I liked this book just as much as What To Expect When You're Expecting, if not more.

4. On Becoming Baby Wise - If you're like me you'll go home from the hospital asking, "Uh... what now?" This book answers those questions! It helps you get your baby into a schedule. If Brielle was crying I knew why. Oh, it's such and such time - you're hungry. I was never left guessing her needs because those needs were being met at specific times allowing me to understand why my baby was crying so I could best help her. I am one of those people who desperately needs that kind of structure.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Spilling the Beans [April 2015 Edition]

She announced with a growl, "I have a monster in my mouf!" (mouf = mouth)

A conversation with Lori at church regarding her Cinderella doll and the fact that she has panties and a bra on: "She has 2 bra's! See? Count wif me. 1, 2!"

We drove past Pizza Hut and she yelled, "Mommy! I want pizza in my mouf!"

Her personal lyrics to Princess Annah's song For the First Time in Forever: "... for the first time in forever I'll be dancing in the sky..."

We were driving to the doctors when Brielle pointed to power lines and announced that there were "dresses in the field!"
I can see how they look like dresses! What an imagination!
While I was writing in my thankful journal Brielle was writing her "ate-you's" on the corresponding page. She was drawing circles galore and told me, "Look mommy! It's a rowy powy monster!" (rolly poly monster)

Since bringing Elie home Briella Bean has been attached to Kyle's hip so he took an entire afternoon to play with her. They rode bikes, played "baketball" (basketball), and spent hours on the swing set. She spent the majority of her time with daddy in a pink princess dress but what took the cake was when they were playing basketball and she explained, "I need my shoes to pway baketball!" (Her shoes, by the way, were little high heeled purple Rapunzel shoes. How she ran around in those things is beyond me...)

Lemonade = Lemonabe

When she wants to know where something has gone she looks for it by swinging her head furiously back and forth and saying, "Where _______ go?"

Rocking horses make wonderful dress up partners...

She's been carrying around a pretend robot all week, exclaiming "Look at my robot mommy! Do you see it?"

Her sister Ele was born this month and our lives have been consumed with our new little addition. Since giving birth to her, Bean has been attached to Daddy's hip. Thankfully, he's risen to the challenge and given her lots of extra attention.

Here's a few of my favorite pictures of my two little girls:

Abi really wanted to hold her too. Can't say that I blame her, she's pretty cute!