Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Loving big takes courage.

I was reading a book today and came across this line.... loving big takes courage.  It impacted me greatly because I know it's true.

Yesterday, I had to run an early errand with the kids with me.  We had an hour or so to kill after it until we had to be at a speech appointment.  I promised them McDonalds if they behaved themselves at the first errand.  They did great and cheered as we pulled in under the golden arches. I'm usually motivated to happiness by their cheerful moods.  I was smiling as I unbuckled car seats and lined up kids on the sidewalk. Then I got this deju vu feeling.  As we filed into the building and they ran off towards the play place, I knew exactly where it was coming from. We rarely go to this McD's because it's on the other side of town, but was close to our earlier errand.  This is the same location where our oldest two children had their parent visitations during our first few months of fostering them.

It's the very first place I laid my eyes on my babies. It's also the place where I experienced some of my most vulnerable moments of my life.  Watching them with their birth family.  Seeing the pain they felt when no one showed up or when they had to say goodbye.  Trying to make sense of the fears of  the future and budding love for these little souls that I was feeling.  I was scared of this unfamiliar world of fostering, inexperienced at this parenting gig and felt unsure if I was the right person for this gig.

It was hard.  Everything about this was making my brain scream, "This is too hard.  Run for comfort." I knew that was my just the scared part of me.  Deep down I had already made this decision.  We were in this. No matter what came. We were parents to whoever and however long God gave us with them.

Nothing about the first few months was easy.  Four years later, there are moments that still aren't easy.  Not with just our adopted children, but our biological children as well.  Parenting. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. It took all the courage I could muster.  I'm not sure I've ever relied on the Lord's strength so much. Hard things bring out the courage that you thought was impossible.

The other side of "loving big takes courage"  is that it breeds more love.  I've never been given so much of myself and then gain soo much in return.  So what is God calling you to love big? I dare you to do it!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Things I Can't Get of My Mind...

I wish my house would sell.
 We've been trying to sell our home for some time now. It's not a need. We have no timeline. It would just make our lives easier to move closer to where Scott works, the kids go to school and an added bonus...closer to my family.  We had an open house this weekend and had a fairly good turn out.  We also have another showing this week.  I'm just praying for an offer and anxious to have it sold before school starts. Sadly, it's only three more weeks.  I'm trying to believe it could happen if God sees fit.'s Study Packs
I love  It's easy, keeps me accountable and has plenty of beautiful images to inspire me.  But I've been dying to get one of their study packs.  They are gorgeous and I know they'd be helpful to go along with their study online. But I haven't felt like I could justify it right now.  Maybe my honey will surprise me with one before the Hebrews study starts up.  hint! hint!  You should check them out and if anything follow along online.  Take a look at the does save you some.  

Summer is almost over.
I can't help it.  I'm trying to stop thinking this way, but I just can't.  I've told a few people July just feels like a long Sunday evening.  You know that sinking feeling in your gut that the fun is over and the week is starting over?  That's the way I feel. I'm going to miss moments like this.  The late afternoon glow, sweaty/happy kids and lots of nothing to do. I HEART summer!

This to eat.
I'm pretty obsessed with this combo lately.  I've eaten too many times to count as my lunch or sometimes even a late night snack.  It's pretty simple and not too unhealthy. : )  Just the bread, cheese and oil maybe? haha! It's spinach, kale and tomatoes chopped up. Oil and vinaigrette poured over. Italian spices, garlic, shaved Parmesan and sprinkled with pepper.  Just dip bread or crackers in it.  SOOO good! Someone stop me!!!

This little girl turning FIVE.
What are my children trying to do to me? UGH!!!! It's the most fun thing to watch them grow and the most heartbreaking too.  It's not that I really want them to stop, but I guess I'd just like them to slow down a little.  I've spent the last month researching/ordering gifts, looking through the past years pictures of Evy and planning her birthday bash for this weekend.  I think sometimes I'm just as excited as them! It's Little Mermaid themed.....soo fun!

That's what's been on my brain lately. 
How about yours?

Friday, July 11, 2014

i love you every little bit

i love your tiny wiggly toes
i love your soft and squishy nose

i love your little dimpled chin
i love your silly, happy grin

i love your itty bitty feet
i love your cheeks, so round and sweet

i love your hands that hold me tight.
i love your eyes so twinkly bright.

our hearts are such a perfect fit.
i love you, every little bit.

* from children's book Every Little Bit (target dollar aisle...a favorite...the aisle and the book)
* pictures from March...he's much bigger now!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Livin'

I can't believe summer is half way over.
I really can't slow time down and have decided to stop fighting it.
Therefore, I have only one choice, to soak it all up.

There are days I get distracted and can't wait for bedtime.
But normally, I'm trying hard to keep a good perspective and search out the blessings!

This summer, we are trying our best to get outside and enjoy this amazing weather. 
For KY, it's been a great summer.  Not boiling, yet.

Here are a few picture of the fun!

 JE hanging in the pod in our backyard.
 We've had several cousin backyard swim dates!
 Liv is such a good mama taking care of her baby!

 We went to the zoo and got to visit with this guy. :)
I love how it looks like they are having a conversation!

I think Evy was deciding to jump the fence to live with the elephants here.

 Lots of swimming at Granny and Grandaddy's pool.

 This time our backyard with the cousins.

 Hysterical how many cousins can fit in one pool!

 Santa or Liv?

Sack races at one of our life group get togethers. 

What a full, exhausting and blessed summer it has been so far.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Thriving in Summer

Summer is a big, beautiful mess.

That is the way I at least feel about it.  
My husband is a teacher so we get soo antsy those last few weeks of school.
Not only will my older ones not have to go to school/preschool, but Daddy is home too!!!
It's the best thing, but it's utter chaos if we don't get a handle on it. 
Imagine being on vacation for 2 months.  It can be overwhelming having no routine, frustrating with soo many personalities home all day and it can get expensive if you aren't planning. 

Every year since we've had the pleasure of this arrangement, we've gotten better at it.  We plan ahead and start talking about what we do the weeks before summer starts. 

Don't get me wrong, we are still major flex these days.  We just created a loose schedule for the weekdays and tried to look over the whole summer for special appointment/events.

So instead of just surviving this summer, we are trying to THRIVE!
Here are a few things we are doing to accomplish this:


To keep the kids on top of all they learned this past year, we've tried to keep on with summer learning.  Just reviewing and working on things they already did.  They honestly enjoy it.  

 We got these workbooks at Sam's for pretty cheap. 
They've been a great way for them to work if we need to be doing other things.

I also wanted to do fun and creative things with the kids this summer. 
We made sure to pencil in time for this during our days home.  


Crafting. Experiments. Baking. Group Playing.

To help with the arts, I got this book. 
I can't help it....I love Martha's stuff.
It's really just a pretty book to look through. 

This was the first one we tried.
Easy and they loved it!

I let them help pour food coloring in.

It does look like Water Fireworks! 


I'm not going to lie. I'm a weeny when it comes to hot weather. 
I would just rather be cool and not sweating.

Thankfully, this summer hasn't been horribly hot.
Either way, we make sure to let them run off some steam everyday.

 So we climb trees.

We play ball.

I'm the worst at this. No joke.
Even when I plan, I get off from the schedule I planned.

This is one area, we struggle.  
Because summer seems like one long vacation, it's easy to eat out too much.
We'll be out doing something as a family and think that it would be convenient to just grab something while we are out.

I've decided to try to cook more for lunch. 
Sometimes, it's easier because we have been going lots of places in the afternoons/evenings.

If  we get home later, it's easier to make sandwiches/ heat up left overs for supper.

I've tried a few dips and fun summer recipes.
I'm always looking for new, healthy and different send them my way if you have any.


We have tried to make sure we get out of the house and go somewhere at least 2 times a week.
This hasn't been hard at all.
We have had lots of cousin play dates, parties to attend and of course VBS with our church.

If anything, I feel we are rarely home during the week.
It's been our Saturday and Sundays that have been slower. 
Which is a nice change too.

Adventures can be close to home, a local hike or a day trip to a near by attraction.

We love free or cheap things for our kids to do.
Obviously, there is parks, the library and Granny's pool!

We've been swimming lots!

There are also some cheaper things that are great too...

Summer Kids movies at Malco
Having a membership to O'boro Science Museum
Reid's Orchard
Laser Tag
Play Places
County Fairs
Drive In Movies

Anyways, we have lots more we want to do and summer is slipping by.

Any ideas you have to share for thriving during the summer instead of just surviving?

Saying so long to the newborn phase.

This is my youngest son.
He is 8 mos. old now.

I started this post like in March.
But it set in my drafts folder since then.
I know.
That is ridiculous.
This was him at around 2 months. 
I wanted to remember the little area that he occupied in our room.  
Livingston stayed in our room too for several months because it's more convenient for me in case they wake during the night. 
I remember being ready to have our room back, to take that pack-n-play down for more space.
Then I remember when we actually did it, feeling sad.
My heart ached just a little when I would look over to see her, only to know she was in her room downstairs.

It wasn't long before I couldn't even remember what it was like having her so close.
So this time, I wanted to make sure to document this sweet time in our lives.
Though the middle of the night feedings can be frustrating in those early months, it's such a sweet bonding time for this new little soul and yourself. 

I'll miss having this baby boy so close. 
Isn't that what happens.
We have them and then keep them as close as we can. 
But the truth is after those first 9 months living right under your very beating heart, 
they are striving to gain more and more freedom.

The distance is real and can be hard on a mama.

 So this time when I packed away the newborn clothes.
Those tiny little garments that I so carefully washed months before he made his debut.
The first outfits I dressed him in as he celebrated being a part of this world.

I took a moment to remember and cherish what God had given me.

I wiped the tears as I folded them for the last time.
I put them away, returned some borrowed ones, passed a few on to friends and saved some of my favorites.

Because I don't want to forget.
I can't.

It's the start of a beautiful BIG life.
My little man.
His beginning.

And I have to say, it went entirely too quick this time.
Before too long, I'll be putting away any reminders of babies.

It will be hard, just like putting away these newborn clothes. 

But the treasure is that each new season brings fresh joys and blessings.

I'll cling to that.

33 things about me at 33

1. I've lived in the same house for 6 years, but we are currently trying to sell it.  The process is driving me completely insane.  Anxious on the future and frustrated with keeping everything "show" ready.

2. My hands are full...and I love it.

3. I have a love/hate relationship with technology.  Sometimes I want to throw it all out the window and then there are times that I can't put it down.  That last part bothers me too.

4. I'm in love with this lipstick.  Seriously, I've searched years for a favorite...glosses, lipsticks, and never could find what I liked.  I'm weird about texture, smells and tastes when it comes to lipstick and makeup.  TRY this...
My favs are Fresh Papaya and Soft Raspberry!

5. This year, I resolved to read 10 books at least.  It's July and I've read 2. UGH!

6.  I feel pretty confident in who I am at this stage of life.  Don't get me wrong I question my parenting skills, worrying over petty stuff sometimes but for the most part I like who I am.

7. My most prized possessions beside my family is probably my camera.  Inside my camera bag is a Canon 5d Mark ii.

8. I love wearing my babies. Even when it's hot and sweaty. :)

9. The people I call the most is my sister and moma.  :)

10. Our church is doing a summer reading plan.  I'm really liking the accountability of our Pastor talking about it each week at church.  Over the last 6months or so I've also used and  Check them out!

11. I have always had issues with clutter.  Messy rooms, piles of things that need to be put away.  But I will say that I think I'm starting to want things to be put in it's home.  I've even done a few projects lately where I've organized several drawers, closets and cabinets.  Could this be me turning a new leaf?!?! :)

12. It's probably wrong how much fun I have planning parties and picking out toys for my children. It could be considered a past time for me.

13. My favorite shows lately are 24 and Longmire

14. I am a stay at home mom and part time photographer.  My business is Thousand Hills Photography.

15. If I could have anything I wanted right now, it would be a spa weekend all alone.  I could use 48 hrs of peace and quiet.  Too much longer than that and I would miss all my noisy bunch.

16. Sadly, I don't wear heels like I used to.  I think it's mainly because of chasing children around. My shoe of choice lately is flip flops.

17. Over the past few years, I've been blessed to be involved with our church's MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) and this year I'm going to be leading.  It's already been insane and exciting.  I'm thankful for this opportunity and cannot wait to see what He does with our group this year.

18. I really dislike bath time...especially because it's at night when I'm already tired. But I love bathing my babes in the sink.

19. The only pet we have is a bunny named Clover.

20. I drive a minivan and I never wanted to be one of those moms.  I wanted a lot of children, but I was going to be a cool mom with an suv.  :)  But I've never been happier.  We got it super cheap and it's been such a blessing to our family.  Lot's of happy memories in that blue tank!

21.  I still don't like chocolate.  I know, I'm weird.

22. Adventures are still my favorite...especially seeing them experience things the first time.

23. I'm still addicted to Dr. Pepper, cheese fries and sour punch straws.

24. The bed I sleep on at 33 is absolute PERFECTION.  We saved up a year or so ago to buy a temper pedic, but ended up buying a Sealy i-comfort!  It's memory foam and it's a king size.  AMAZING!!! Seriously, we are soo spoiled and have trouble sleeping anywhere else.

25. I have a sweet little baby that is breaking my heart by getting soo big.  I think it's extra hard because he's my last baby.

26. My favorite resturants right now are The Bistro (local Greek place),  Olive Garden and Zaxby's.

27.  One thing, I'd like to get better at is gardening like my parents(they are amazing).  I'm just going to try to keep the few I planted this year alive.

28. At 33, I've traveled many places (28 states, Canada, Italy, Russia, Germany, Dominic Republic,

29. Lately, my snack of choice is feta cheese and pita crackers.  Seriously, yum!

30.  My preferred pandora station is Josh Garrels and we listen to KLOVE on the radio. (unless I'm by myself in which I listen to country or the local college station).

31. My favorite scenery....this is why I want to move back here.

32.Things I would do if I had more time is paint, read and scrapbook.

33. I'm pretty much at a season where I want time to stand still.  Everything about life is lovely at this age.  There isn't longing for anything major because it's already here.  God has given me soo many desires of my heart.  Mainly for a husband and children.  Now I just want to it to stop going so fast.

designed with love by beautiful dawn designs