Saturday, July 7, 2012

change and blessings

Currently, I am sitting in the living room at 8:35am, and I am completely and utterly alone. Would you believe that both my boys are sleeping?? This is completely unheard of...well, not so much for the hubs, who's work hours begin at 5am (he would sleep all day if he could); but my son? he almost NEVER sleeps this late. I am enjoying a cup of coffee while watching the food network - instead of one of his shows :)

Well, I have already made it public, so I suppose it's time to 'announce' I am expecting. Our baby will be here December 27 and we couldn't be more excited! We are pretty certain it's a girl, but I suppose some things aren't always as they seem? We had an ultrasound at 13 weeks, which is earlier than they normally give. At that visit, we told the tech we wanted to find out the sex if they were able to see clearly this early. She was confident that the baby was a girl and told us so 3 times! So...until my next ultrasound, we are settling on a girl :) Little miss, will share a birthday month with her mommy, just like Lincoln does with his daddy, which is pretty special in my mind.

In other news, our new house should be ready in September. With a new home comes a lot of new things and we are busy weeding through our stuff deciding what to keep/sell/donate, and making lists on all the new stuff we need to get. Craziness is all I can say.

With all that said, I couldn't be more excited about everything! God is so good and through all this change and growth, his presence and guidance is so evident. We are a blessed family.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

new beginnings

Wow, God is so good! My lovely sister is expecting her first baby in November and she just found out yesterday that she is having a girl! I, of course, new she was having a girl from day one :)
We are beside ourselves with excitement and I just can't wait to meet my beautiful niece!

In other news, we bought a house! So excited about finally finding something and having somewhat of a plan. Our new house is just that - new! So, it won't be ready until September, but we are definitely happy to have the extra time to prepare everything for a move, not to mention we won't have to move in the dead of summer.

I know I have been a poor blogger, but will try to update a little more now that my schedule isn't as crazy. I know a certain someone will enjoy the updates :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

jeopardy and nail polish

Okay, so my husband is in love with Jeopardy. In fact, he records the show so that he can watch it whenever he wants and fast forward through all the commercials. The funny thing? He's actually incredibly good at it - he is like this vessel of useful and sometimes useless information just stored up. He retains information the way a sponge retains water - it's quite amazing.

So my original point? We were watching said show last night, and one of the contestants was a young girl. During the mini interview process at the beginning (which we also normally fast forward), Alex was asking her about her blog. She explained that she had a blog about stupid nail polish names. Really? Did she just say she blogs about stupid nail polish names? Okay...I was so curious I just had to google it/her!

I spent the next half hour reading through THE. MOST. HILARIOUS. POSTS. EVER! You wouldn't have known it by watching Jeopardy, but this girl is amazingly clever and writes the most hysterically witty material. If you're looking for a good laugh and enjoy sarcasm, check it out here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

new arrival

It's here - it's finally here! My piano has arrived and I am beyond excited about it! When I was really young, my parents surprised me and my siblings by trading in our old piano (which we all played at the time) for a beautiful, upgraded Yamaha. It was - and still is - in stellar condition. Because I was the only one who kept playing and took my music to the professional level, it was only fitting that the piano go to me. My parents always told me that it was mine whenever I was ready for sweet :)

I was planning to wait until we moved so that we would have sufficient space for it, but my parents are renovating their home and the piano was either going to storage or coming to my house. That was an easy decision! After taking some serious measurements and adjusting the dining room furniture just a bit, we were ready for the new arrival. It's as if the piano was meant for this space all along.

I'm not the only one excited to play...

Friday, March 9, 2012

February in a nutshell

I'm such a bad blogger. No excuse. Well, honestly, yes - February was craziness. My husband and son both have birthdays that follow Valentines day, so the planning was a bit excessive. Additionally, we had some family from out of town who stayed with us for a few days. All in all, it was a great, but very busy month!

Speaking of my sons birthday, he turned 3 on February 28th. I still remember that beautiful day....ahhh, time goes by so fast! Anyway, remember way back when, when I talked about doing a sweet shop party? Well, I did just that. It wasn't extravagant or anything, but it turned out pretty special and all the kids had a great time. I do think next time I'll offer a disclaimer to moms: warning: your children WILL eat too much candy and they WILL have an extreme sugar high and you may NOT ask me to babysit directly following the event ;)

here are some pics of our little gathering:

Lincoln and his friend, Tyler, hugging it out

A very special gift...something having to do with Cars :)

Here is our dessert table...
The "ice cream cones" are actually cupcakes baked into the cone. It was the absolute best idea for the entire party. It was so easy for all the kids to handle without the help of their parents and without the mess of actual ice cream. They loved it and it was entirely too easy! My inspiration? Betty Crocker

Lincoln received a very special gift from his Grandpa Steve who was visiting from Florida! To say he was spoiled is a serious understatement!

What does this month hold? Stay tuned...we are looking to move and have other exciting plans in the works!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

my thoughts on relationships

Coming off a busy week - and weekend. Days seem to come and go so quickly sometimes, which makes me realize how important it is to slow down and take in each moment for what it is. Savoring each conversation, experience, and moment, that weaves through the unique relationships I hold; this is something I've been practicing this past year. I want to make the most of my time, which means making the most of my relationships.

I've learned that relationships are nothing without first making my relationship with Christ the most important. Investing my time with him is something to strive for on a daily basis, which I so often fall too short. It's hard to isolate a time in the day where I can be still and know that HE IS GOD. Having a special prayer time - not just me talking while going about the daily routine, but actually sitting down to spill my heart before him - this has proven to be hardest for me, but always reaps the greatest benefits. Intimate conversation with a friend is something that brings  us closer together; why would it be any different with Jesus?

My second priority has to be my family. The challenge here isn't finding the time to be together, but rather, using the time we have and turning it into positive, relationship building experiences. Sometimes I just want to come home and sit in front of the TV for a couple of hours, which isn't all bad all the time. But, each moment - each experience - how many do we have? If I've been able to at least share my day with my husband and actually listen to his re-cap of the day, then I consider this a small but significant piece of our marriage puzzle. Each conversation can lead to another, and this is where the bonding and building begins. We have also found some common interests and activities that we enjoy doing together. For us, sometimes it's cooking, and other times it's walking to the park together as a family. We can sit, talk, and enjoy, and Lincoln can run his legs off...definitely a win/win! The bottom line for me is not to make a big ordeal into finding a special time where we can connect and have that deep, eye-opening, conversation, but to find solace and blessings in all the little moments we share together. They all have meaning and purpose, and each moment is a blessing.

Beyond family, I am blessed to have special friendships and so thankful that God has filled those voids in my life with just the right people at just the right time. Through many moments and circumstances I have been through, I have realized that friendships come and go - for various reasons - and it's so important to invest in each others' lives to the fullest. Obviously, we can't all be best friends with one another, nor would I want to be best friends with every girl I meet! But, each person that comes into my life, God has a reason and a purpose for. It may or may not be that we were destined to be close-knit kindred spirits, but there is a reason. I may have something to offer them - a listening ear, a chair at a table for dinner, $4 for a coffee, or maybe just companionship and prayer at a time when they are desperately in need of it. But, it's in blessing others that I in return have been blessed and grow closer to Christ. Some of these invested relationships have, for me, lead to wonderful friendships with dear sisters, and others, not so much. Sometimes, I think, investing in someone else can bless them in a way that I may not understand, and that's okay. Do it all for the glory of God.

In the busyness, I try to remind myself (and sometimes still forget!) not to allow daily tasks like cleaning, cooking, laundry, and sometimes even work, to come before experiencing the joy to be had in each moment I have to look at my sweet child's face, in each cup of coffee or lunch-date I share with a new (or old) friend, and in each laugh or cry I can share with someone, which has the added benefit of growing even stronger yet another relationship. It's in each of these moments that I experience blessing upon blessing, and with that comes extreme gratitude for all these gifts that this poor soul is so undeserving of.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

7 Principals for Investing Your Life

I just love our pastor - he's just pretty amazing and it's so evident that God is using him in a mighty way!

A couple of weekends ago he preached a message and gave a list of 7 principals for investing your life. I thought it was really useful, and something that I wanted to apply. So, the idea of me re-posting this is for my benefit, although I definitely think anyone with a desire to have a personal relationship with Christ and use their gifts to glorify him would also benefit :)

Here they are:

1. Ownership: Everything I have belongs to God
2. Allocation: God has given me some talents
3. Accountability: God expects me to use those talents
4. Utilization: It is wrong to bury what God has given me
5. Motivation: Fear keeps me from using my talent(s); the three parts of fear are categorized as self-doubt, self-pity, and self-consciousness. "The fear of man is a snare"
6. Application: If I don't use it, I'll lose it
7. Realization: If I use it wisely I'll be rewarded

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

first bumbo experience

So, I just had to post this picture for comparison to yesterday's pic. This was taken around 8 or 9 weeks, if I remember correctly. Remember what I said about the giggle fest? Ya....that's totally coming back to me when I see him sitting in this chair. 
cutest. thing. ever.

Monday, January 23, 2012

simple cuteness

One of my favorite baby items we had when Lincoln was little was his Bumbo seat. There's just something so stinking cute about a little baby propped up in one of these that gives me a giggle fest every time :) Ours has been in the garage for more than 2 years now, but I fished it out last week. My sister is a nanny and the family she works for just had a baby. She is almost 2 months old and is just about holding her head up now, so imagine my giddyness when I went to get the bumbo for her.

The only problem? As soon as Lincoln spotted this chair, he just knew it was his. He has been calling it his bumble seat and sits in it all the time. In fact, he received a special McQueen chair for Christmas this year that's propped up in the living room; he has placed the "bumble seat" right next to it, so depending on how he's feeling at that particular moment, he has two seating choices (he's very opinionated)!

Celebrating cuteness this morning :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Dinners

Sunday nights usually produce our small family sitting around the table for dinner together. It's a nice idea, and one that only happens a few nights a week...if I'm lucky. Most of my hours are in the afternoon / early evenings, so it's likely that the hubs and I will eat together (he's so nice to wait for me), but he usually ends up feeding the little guy long before I'm home or able to make dinner.

Sometimes, after a long week, we order pizza or just eat left-overs, but it's likely on a Sunday that I will cook something up (secret - I love to cook!); tonight was no exception. I just love healthy, home-made meals, and it's a good day in my book when you can use up a bunch of stuff in the refrigerator to create something delish! Because I pre-chop and wash most of my produce, my cooking-time seems to be cut in half these days, which also gives me more time to chat with my son while getting dinner ready.

Tonight, he joined me in the kitchen and sat up at the bar-top while I prepared. I had a container of some cherry tomatoes that I had planned to put in this particular dish. He fussed to get the plastic container open, and as soon as he did, he said "mommy, I'm gonna eat this." I said "go right ahead, but it's a tomato, not a grape, and if you put it in your mouth, you have to chew it up and swallow it." In my experience, if he's not prepared for what he's about to eat - or thinks it's something else - he likely spits it out by sheer surprise. Imagine my surprise when he chewed it up and went for another one! Ya - I knew I loved that kid!

So what did we make? I took almost all the veggies I had still fresh. This included: onion, garlic (don't you just love that combo?!?!), green pepper, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes. I had a grilled chicken breast left over from another dish that I diced up as well. After sauteing the veggies in olive oil, I seasoned them with salt, pepper, garlic salt, and a little oregano. I seasoned the chicken separately (Food Network told me to always season every layer ;)....) and then added that to the veggies. I added a can of low-cal cream of chicken soup and diluted it with about a 1/4 cup of water. After simmering a few minutes, I tossed the bunch into whole wheat rigatoni pasta. Oh, and let's not forget the Parmesan it off with freshly grated parm. That's right - and none of that boxed junk. I'm a brat when it comes to cheese, but it makes a huge difference!

There you have it!  A delicious, and very colorful meal in 15 minutes whipped up from whatever was left in the fridge after a long week. It turned out really great and I got to spend a few minutes in the kitchen with my favorite little boy in the whole world!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

simple pleasures

Potty time is coming along...slowly, but surely. He knows how to go and how to tell us when he has to go so he doesn't wet himself. When it comes to the other kind of potty...ya - he is having trouble. It's a process - and that's okay. We wait and keep trying; that's all that matters, I guess.

This week we spent lots of time outside walking - we walked the neighborhood and even met a friend and walked a lake area while drinking some chai (mommy, not son). Between all the activity, we talked - a lot. I can't believe how much he can carry on a conversation. He tells me about his toys and wants to show me all the cool things they do, he tells me his opinion on every matter you could imagine, and he asks me what I'm doing. He also sings and dances constantly, and above all else, he laughs. His joy is contagious and it makes me proud. It makes me smile, and I find myself laughing with him every time. Wow, I love that kid!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

woes of potty training

I was thinking of calling this post my philosophy on potty training, but then I almost laughed out loud at the notion of me having a philosophy on a matter that is entirely too new. I don't know that I'm even entitled to such a formed opinion of a matter that I have so little experience with, but I'm going with my gut on this, and so far, it's working!

Because I am a working mom and run a business, potty training was something I was dreading for a long time. I also am cursed/blessed (depends on how you look at it, I guess...) with an extremely laid-back personality. So, when it comes to battles with a toddler, I usually try to avoid them at all costs. I take the "no drama for your mama" approach, and since potty training can be a huge battle, I decided it wasn't worth forcing if he wasn't ready and/or willing.

I also knew that potty training required a huge amount of dedication, time, constant persistence, and love for laundry. To me, it just didn't sound doable or enjoyable - for either of us! Plus, with me gone for a few hours at a time in the afternoons, how was I supposed to enforce such a thing? So, I decided to just let the diapers run their course; surely he wouldn't want to use them forever, right? I should also mention that, with such a busy body son, he just never seems to have time to go potty - even when asked, he just doesn't want to do it.

At times, I felt guilty - like, maybe I should be pushing this issue. But then I entered into a conversation on facebook after an old friend of mine had used the phrase "self potty training." I just HAD to know what this was all about! Could it be? An actual term - or do I even dare say - movement to the madness behind my idea? Indeed! She told me that, with the birth of her second daughter, she just did not have the time to dedicate to actual potty training with her toddler. So, like me, she decided to allow her daughter to do it when she was ready. No pushing, forcing, pulling out hair, etc. Sure, it takes a little more time, and these children aren't actually 'ready' until closer to 3, but it works! And best of all? It comes without a battle! Just my style...

So, how's it going? I'm happy to say that, as of Tuesday this week, my son has been wearing big boy underpants. It started that day around lunch when he went in the potty and, with a little encouragement from mom, Lincoln put on his underpants. I thought for sure that he wouldn't want to wet those - no matter how busy he was. So far, I've been right! He only had 1 accident, which was yesterday when he was at grandma's house. I will say, he's been wearing pull-ups at night, but I'm only ready to conquer one battle at a time. For now? we are a happy, drama-free, and dry family ;)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

3rd time's a charm

Christmas is over and yet my child continues to sing "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer"....on a daily basis. Additionally, he LOVES the song "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas", which surprisingly, he knows every word to. It's really cute, but despite our best efforts, he doesn't want to accept that the holiday craziness is behind us.

On the other hand, mommy and daddy HAVE moved on, and with the Christmas tree clean-up and crazy work schedules returning, we are busy at work planning for the little guy's 3rd birthday party. The big day is February 28th, so we will be celebrating the weekend prior. We did a big party for his 1st and kept it low-key for his 2nd, but I definitely think 3 is something to celebrate; especially because he really understand the concept behind the birthday party now and knows the big day is quickly approaching.

I couldn't decide if we were going to do some extravagant theme or keep it simple with friends and family. Lincoln is totally into Cars and Toy Story, but that's so "been there done that" and I wanted to really do something fun and unique - something that all his friends, and parents alike, would enjoy; not to mention, we did a Rock Star theme for his 1st birthday and that was totally cute! So, with all my motivation - and a little lot of inspiration from pinterest - we will be doing a sweet shop theme! I'm so excited, as is Brian. He even researched a local old-school candy shop where he says we can get all the treats for the big day! I just love when the dad's get so into this stuff :)

So in the next month, I will be getting in touch with my inner craftiness (ha!) and hope to create the most darling 3rd birthday party a boy could dream of! I'll make sure to share my ideas ideas along the way (and would welcome any ideas as well!) and, of course, pictures of the "final draft" when all is said and done.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lincoln playing at the park

spring in winter

With a new year comes a new start, and in our case, the most beautiful weather in the world. The high in Gilbert today is 73 degrees...that's right. It's absolutely gorgeous! Today is also the day I am back to work, after enjoying a glorious break for the last week and a half. My first appointment isn't until the afternoon, so we have spent the whole day outside, which I truly believe does wonders for the mind, body, and soul.

This morning we walked to a small, family owned coffee shop across the street from our neighborhood. Met up with my sister and spent some quality time while the little man made some new friends and ran his little legs off, all while sitting at a picnic table under the orange trees while sipping a hot, non-fat, white mocha...bliss.

After walking home and enjoying some lunch together, we walked to our neighborhood park (we are's so close that it can be viewed from our front window). Made some new friends among the sand and slides, while mommy caught up on work emails. Did I mention that self-employment was the best thing that ever happened to me? ;)

Spend some time outside this week, that is, if it's not snowing...although, I suppose there's always time for sledding?

Monday, January 2, 2012

healthy time-saver

I'm really into healthy eating. I also love to cook, and have learned a lot over the years about nutrition and vegetarian cooking. This post is, by no means, about vegetarianism or healthy eating, but because of my own personal testimony related to nutrition (let's save that for another day, shall we?) I am forever connected to vegetables :)

A few months ago, I was inspired by my own mother (who had recently heard a lecture about food preparation from a nutritionist) to do some time-saving, pre-washing, and pre-chopping with my produce. I had thought about this concept before, but don't know why I never put it into affect...until now.

Here is my handy-work from yesterday:

I usually spend a short time (any where from 20-minutes to an hour, depending on how much produce I buy/consume) washing and chopping up all my fruits and veggies. I have found that this, not only saves me time when cooking, but it allows me the convenience of easy access with every single meal! I am adding veggies to almost everything now!

One of my favorites? A veggie egg-white scramble. You can put whatever you like or have on hand in it, and it always turns out delicious! It's also a good way to get a good serving of veggies in the morning, or even at lunch! Who said eggs were just for breakfast?

Ramblings of a 2 year old...

So, if you have children, you are well aware that, by the time they can speak, they don't stop - speaking, that is. My son was an early talker - he had a small, understandable vocabulary by 15 months, and by the time of his 2nd birthday, we knew we had an opinionated and confident little boy. He's always had something to say about everything. He will be 3 in a couple of months, so you can imagine how much his language skills have grown. He uses full sentences and forms them properly - it's actually quite amazing! I'm not sure if this has anything to do with my English degree, and the fact that I have corrected his speech along the way, but I probably shouldn't take any credit - he is just a determined child and one that has had an insatiable desire to speak his mind from day one!

At any rate, I have started a new habit with him that I sincerely hope will stick. We are learning short, simple, Bible verses every week or two, which has become a really special time for him and I. It all started earlier December when Lincoln received a take-home Christmas booklet in the nursery that had a Bible verse written in it, along with the condensed Christmas story and fun games. One morning over breakfast, I was reading him the booklet and went through the verse with him - "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son." I said over and over, and after a few times, he tried saying it with me. After 2 days, he had it and has been quoting it ever since!

Last week, I thought, "why stop there?" So, we didn't. He almost has this one down perfect: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding."  It's really quite precious and allows me to provide him with something positive to hold in his heart forever. It's true - toddlers repeat EVERYTHING they hear - good and bad. So, why not give them something good to say? Something that could change their life forever?