Wednesday, June 19, 2013


...weeks makes a lot of difference!

4 weeks vs 23 weeks.  Hi there baby boy!

If subsequent pregnancies = bigger babies, I'm scared.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


My friend Jamie and I co-write a blog called The Pinterest Project, where we work through Pinterest one pin at a time and blog about it!

Awhile back she posted a recipe for strawberry jam that used only honey, apple and lemon as ingredients (along with strawberries, of course) and I was dying to try it out.  It's a little bit tough to find jam recipes that don't include a LOT of sugar so this piqued my interest.

After a failed attempt at flea market shopping (more like the world's biggest dollar store...), we headed to a local place called The Peach Stand to see if peaches were in season.  There wasn't much yet in the way of peaches, but we did snatch up some GORGEOUS looking strawberries.

This is a super easy jam, so if you've never canned before, give it a shot.

Check out her original post HERE.

Step 1: rinse and cut berries

Step 2: Add honey, freshly squeezed lemon juice & grated apple

Step 3: Boil and mash

Step 4: Pour jam into sterilized jars and process in a water bath.

Step 5: Listen for those awesome little pops that tell you your jars are sealed!  Mmmm, jam.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

of infinite importance

That doesn't seem like it would be too difficult, right?

Have you ever found yourself at a point in your life where you are able to find the negative in just about every situation?  Maybe you point a finger at someone else for not living up to your expectations or making decisions that you would make.  Maybe you find fault in your current situation for reasons beyond anyone's control, or maybe for reasons that ARE in someone's control.

Or maybe you're at the other end of the finger pointing, tired of feeling like you have let someone down  or tired of feeling scrutinized.  And it's easy to get angry, resentful, suspicious and just plain negative.

And the dirty truth is, if you spend the majority of your day finding fault in everyone else - it's probably time to turn the mirror around on yourself.

I've been going through some waves of this lately - you all know I like to keep it real here on my blog, so I try to share myself with you.  I am not a perfect wife, mother or pastor's wife.  We are not a perfect family, we make mistakes but we work hard at loving each other, at serving our church and most of all, honoring God.

And the moments in my life where I find that I'm the most negative or unhappy about my situation, it's usually because I've gotten lazy in my relationship with God.  I've lost sight of the one thing that is SO important to remember - keeping my gaze focused on God blocks out the rest of the junk.  That's eloquently stated, right?

I recently came across a similar sentiment online, perhaps more nicely put:

"What God knows about me is infinitely more important than what others think about me"

You can substitute other things in there - "What God knows about my children is infinitely more important than what others think about them."  Or, "What God knows about my husband is infinitely more important than what others think about him..."

Want to make it basic?  What God knows about YOU and your story is all that matters.

That's the end of it.  What God knows IS what's important.  How am I sharing my heart with Him consistently?  How am I striving to grow and to rely on Him, to press into Him, to block out the noisy chatter all around me?

It's too easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you're not enough, you don't have enough, you can't ever BE enough...

And I don't know about you, but when those kind of thoughts creep into my mind (and they do, oh they do) I suddenly start to feel very cranky about myself and those around me.

But if I wake up with a heart full of gratitude and fixed towards Him, focusing on what I know to be true - that what He knows about me is the most important - I can't help but to feel a more positive outlook.  A weight lifted off my shoulders.  What happens in my life is between me and Him.  End of story.

It doesn't matter what the outside influences whisper in our ears.

Keep your gaze fixed on him.

"...never will I leave you, never will I forsake you..."
                   ~Hebrews 13:5

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Day in the Life...antique style

My husband is out of town on business, my oldest is with family in Vermont...

So I took my toddler antique-ing. 

Makes sense, right?

We found some cool treasures - all of which my husband will be happy to know I left behind.

I really wanted to load up on old mason jars and those really cool empty frames, but I refrained.

Proud times.

And this guy deserves a gold star for being so good!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Miscarriage: Dirty Word?

I've been thinking about this post for a long, long time.  

How 'miscarriage' seems like a dirty word.

No, not technically - but it's the kind of word that feels clumsy and awkward rolling off your tongue.  It's the kind of word that makes people uncomfortable.  When I use it, I immediately wonder if I've made the other person feel bad.

I try to force myself to say it when I'm talking about our experience.  I even find myself referring to Lilia as 'the baby we lost' instead of 'my daughter, Lilia'  It's incredibly hard to say her name out loud.

It's kind of a strange place to be in.  I had a daughter.  But she only survived for a little under 16 weeks in the womb.  I never held her, never laid eyes on her.  However, I know she was there and I know she was mine.  

A friend on Facebook posted this recently and it speaks so well of how a woman who has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss feels.

An Ugly Pair of Shoes
Author Unknown

I am wearing a pair of shoes.

They are ugly shoes.

Uncomfortable Shoes.
I hate my shoes.

Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.

I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.

To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.

But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.

There are many pairs in the world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.

Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by
before they think of how much they hurt.

No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of the shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.

They have made me who I am.

I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

My current pregnancy reminds me that even a new, well fitting pair of shoes doesn't erase or take away the memory and feelings of the ugly, uncomfortable shoes.  A lot of days, I see my new shoes and feel bad about putting the ugly, uncomfortable shoes away.  And some days I wear one ugly shoe, and one of my new shoes.

When I first immersed myself in the pregnancy loss community, there were a lot of people who welcomed me and said something to the effect of, "It's a club no one wants to join, but we welcome you with big hugs and lots of prayers"

A friend asked me the other day how I was processing this pregnancy.  I told her, very honestly, that I wasn't processing it very well.  How I thought my grieving was at a good place until I got pregnant again.  How I'm struggling to understand things I thought I understood.  How I'm anxious and scared, angry and sad, conflicted and happy.  

Many of you know the background with my first two children.  And then we found out last year while on a beach vacation that I was pregnant with Lilia.  A pregnancy that wasn't planned OR unplanned - and one we found ourselves so excited for.  

But this baby - this baby I prayed for.  The first of my children that I actively prayed for BEFORE conception.  And it's powerful to think that the Lord listened and gave me this baby - I think about that a lot, and wonder who he will be.  What his personality will be like, what his presence in our family will mean.  I have found more joy in being a mother than in anything else in my life, and I can't imagine our family without any of the children that are a part of it.

I know our little rainbow baby boy, currently kicking and growing inside of me, will bring some healing to my heart and to our family.  

But it's hard to walk while wearing one new shoe and one uncomfortable one.  It will be a journey that is different than any I've taken in the past but one I am grateful for.  I know God is stretching me, encouraging me and gently pushing me to rely more on him.  To trust Him more, to lean on Him and to use my pain for growth.

For this child I prayed; and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of him.
                                                                                                                         ~1 Samuel 1:27

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A day...

A day in the life...

Happy 21 weeks!

Choosing paint colors for a project...

What a 2 year old does while Mommy is working on a project...

Taking a break to go outdoors and play, check out our tomato plants...

Little blooms!

This is happening...

Drying off after too much fun with the water table!

Baking cookies (for a The Pinterest Project blog prop, of course!)

Beckett was here...

Mommy needs a nap!

Monday, June 3, 2013


If you're my real life friend, you know that one thing I'm pretty passionate about is finding good, healthy food for my family.  I'm fascinated with learning about nutrition, different ideas about nutrition and how to eliminate the majority of processed foods from our diet.

But something about pregnancy makes me throw all those ideas out the window.  Well, not ALL of them - but a lot of them.  I'm way less 'strict' when it comes to what I buy at the store - and while I still stick to Earth Fare, Trader Joe's and the farmers can find junk food anywhere.  "Organic cookies" are still cookies.

I find this pretty interesting actually - because you would think when you are growing a tiny human, there would be a stronger desire to nourish yourself better.  Especially during this pregnancy because I haven't had weird food aversions or too many cravings, and I haven't been sick.

But - I have been tired.  And overwhelmed with some life stuff.  And when those things happen, I find that my defenses are down.  My willpower goes to sleep and I can justify cookies from EarthFare because "THEY'RE VEGAN and made with ORGANIC CANE SUGAR"  True story!

On Saturday night I ran to the store and loaded up on fresh produce and avoided the aisles with the
'healthy junk' so I wouldn't have it in the house.  I've been feeling ick, and I know I need to be nourishing myself and this baby better.  So for lunch I made a colorful salad with my homemade lemon tahini dressing and am remembering how much I love fresh food!

It also got me thinking about how to nourish my soul.  As a mother, a wife, a friend - it can be easy to drop the ball on taking care of that aspect.  It can be easy to become overwhelmed, tired and shut down.  To sit down at night and stare at Facebook or mindlessly watch a reality show.  I find the more overwhelmed I am with life, the less motivation I have to rely on God for support.

If you want a good reality check, think about where you spend your time and what you put your efforts towards in your loneliest, darkest, emptiest moments.

Where am I allowing myself to indulge, chalking it up to ideas like 'I deserve it'?  'Just one of these ____ won't do too much damage'

God is begging us to turn to him when we our defenses are down, when we are most tired, when it is easier to turn on the TV than to turn to His word.  Nourishing your soul isn't easy - it takes time, commitment, effort - just like learning to nourish your body properly.  You can gloss over the hard stuff and feel somewhat ok about grazing on organic cookies all week but the bottom line is, a cookie is still a cookie.  And grazing on God's word will only get you so far.  You have to dig into the meat, into the heart of Him and His desires for you.

Where do you turn when you are most tired?   Are you looking for someone or something to fix you, to fill up the void you feel or are you looking to pour yourself out, to give yourself to Him?

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Have you guys seen this floating around the interwebs?

I read this awhile ago, and my heart felt a little squeezy-like.  You know what I mean, that feeling you get when something smacks you in the face? 

Parenting is, by far, the hardest thing I've ever done.  There are times Beckett is the sweetest little munchkin in the world and I'm convinced he can do no wrong.  His eyes light up the room, his laughter is adorable, and his snuggles can cure any bad mood.  

Then are the days when I'm seriously tempted to curl up in the corner of my bedroom in the fetal position, cover my head with a blanket and not emerge until he's 18.  The kind of day where I hobble downstairs after bedtime and sit on the couch, dazed and confused, feeling battered and bruised and wondering where I went wrong.

Tonight as we were checking out at the grocery store, Beckett grabbed a stack of coupon flyers and gleefully flung them all over the store.  The clerk said to me, "He's going to be a real handful, eh?"  I smiled weakly, laughed it off and muttered some comment about him being into everything.

But as I walked out of the door, I felt that mommy guilt creeping in.  Why can't he just sit in the cart quietly and not throw things, or screech or gesture wildly at all the things he wants?  Why does he want to smash all the buttons on the debit card swiper thing and why does he try to stand up in the seat even when I have him buckled?  (And why does he succeed most days?!)

I started feeling crappy.  Like I was a bad mother.  And I started mentally reviewing all of the ways we discipline at home, the ways I speak to him, the things I do and don't let him get away with.  Beating myself up for all my imperfections as a mother because my two year old wouldn't sit quietly in a shopping cart.

Kind of ridiculous, really.  

So then I started thinking about all of the things I love about my toddler.  Things that on a bad day can seem...well, really really bad but might actually be good things.

Things like: Never sits still - it's true, the child rarely stops moving.  He's on the go all the time.  I'm the mom chasing wildly after a toddler as he runs gleefully towards danger, laughing hysterically like it's a game.  But there's a good side of this trait.  He's a mover and a shaker.  He loves to explore.  He sees a big, open space and wants to conquer it all by himself.  

And: Has no fear - if it's in his way, this child will climb it, wrestle it, tackle it or jump it.  Logan was a cautious child, and this is all very new to me.  He scales furniture like it's his job.  If I turn my attention for 10 seconds to look at produce in a store he will wriggle out of his belt and stand up in the shopping cart.  And though it took longer than I thought it would, he is now quite adept at breaking free from his crib.  But the good side of this trait is that he isn't afraid to try something.  He isn't afraid to fail, to fall, to lose.  He is brave and confident and I love that. (though it scares the you know what out of me...)

And of course: His defiance.  Oh, this boy can be defiant.  He will hear you tell him no, smirk right in your face and do it anyway.  The other day I gave him a warning to stop doing something - telling him that if he did it again, he'd end up in time out.  What did he do? He did it again, and then went to put himself in time out.  Sigh.  There's a good side to this too, if I think really hard.  He's an independent thinker, a free spirt.  He knows what he wants, he understands his consequences and chooses accordingly.  

At 2, these traits can be exhausting.  At times, they are downright naughty.  

I'm not condoning willful, defiant behavior but...if I reframe the negative, I can envision them becoming strong positives as he grows and matures and learns to reign some of them in.  

The graphic at the top is one I think about often.  It gives me a little kick in the pants to reframe my thinking, to take a few deep breaths and see that there is so much good in being a mommy. Each phase of childhood is here and gone in the blink of an eye and even though some of the traits my kiddos possess can drive me up a wall, it is my job to learn how to help channel these qualities into bigger and better things as they grow.  It is a good reminder that they are amazing little individuals created by our awesome Creator in His likeness and that they are only under my roof for a short time.