Saturday, July 29, 2017


My girl turned four several months back.

She is just the best. I absolutely love this stage she is in. I wish I could do her personality justice by trying to describe her with words, but I feel like she is someone you have to experience. She is just so unique and precious and special. I don't know what it is about her, but I just want to memorize every single thing about her and never forget. She says and does the sweetest, cutest and funniest things.

She is so thoughtful and caring. She always looks for ways to be sweet with her siblings, or with her Daddy and me. Her spirit is just so genuinely kind and gentle.

She is a girly girl through and through. She loves any and every thing pink, sparkly, twirly. Dresses, fancy things, ballet, etc. are all things she loves.

She loves My Little Ponies, Trolls, and the movie Sing. This year she became very into make believe play. She loves playing games with her ponies and trolls, playing with her doll house, making "houses" for all of her little guys with her magnatiles, playing Sing where she acts out the songs they sing and dance to. She is more into the type of make believe where she has people to "work" rather than the type such as pretending in the play kitchen, or playing house and such.

Next month she is going to start a dance class, which she has been asking to do for about a year now. She is really looking forward to this! I am especially looking forward to seeing her in her sweet little uniform :)

She has been taking a group piano class this year with her sister, and has her recital coming up in August. She has excelled at this, and it has come to her very naturally. I don't think we will continue with music for a few more years, but it was great to get a foundation for her, and she has enjoyed it a lot.

She seems to really have a knack for words and language. Some of the vocabulary she uses blows our minds. Sometimes we are not even sure how she knows a word or where she heard it. If I tell her what a written word says once, she will remember it. My prediction is she will excel in language arts in her school years.

This lady is very sensitive. She has big feelings, whatever those feelings may be. She loves BIG. When she's happy, she is insanely happy. When she's sad, her entire life is ruined and heart completely broken. She is a giant ball of joy 98% of the time.

She is also very assertive and totally confident in who she is, and I LOVE that about her, because I'm not really like that. She is not afraid to make friends, go to new places, or chat with people. If someone is mean to her or someone else, she has no problem standing up for what is right. I hope she never ever loses this trait!

She has taken on the big sister role so well. She absolutely adores her little brothers and is so sweet and patient with them. She loves to hug and kiss them, and does so often. She comforts them often when they are sad or get hurt. I think they will have a sweet bond and relationship as they grow.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that she is only 4! Part of it is the way she talks, part of it is her maturity level, and part of it is the fact that she and her sister do many of the same things at the same level, so its easy to forget that she is a year and a half younger. Sometimes I see that younger side (totally age appropriate side) of her come out and it makes me glad she is not growing up too quickly :)

Some of my favorite things she has said to me recently are 
  • "Mom, I'm going to live with you forever. Actually, I'm going to live with you FIVE ever, because five is longer than four." I mean. 
  • One night I had a bad headache so my husband was going to take the kids to the park, and she came over to me on the couch and was being so sweet to me and then said "I just want you to know that we'll always be together, because of the connection that's in our hearts." Seriously, no idea where she gets these things! 
  • She had worked hard on something, and I told her so, and she replied "It wasn't my work. It was my heart that guided me." 

I am absolutely obsessed with her. I cannot get enough. I still can't believe I get to be her mom. She is one of the most insanely awesome people I have ever met. I can't wait to keep watching her grow! 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What a Family of 6 Eats in a Week

It is probably a weird source of entertainment, but I LOVE watching grocery hauls on YouTube, or reading What I Ate posts on blogs. Super random, I know. I always get really good ideas for meals, or just things for my kids to eat! I also really like watching cleaning, so random, but it is so satisfying to watch houses get clean. I realize I am a weirdo. ANYWAY, I get a lot of questions about how much food our family eats. Some friends recently were over and asked if we are buying stock in bananas because we just had so many. Nope, just a regular week for our family of 6! It is funny to me to think back to how much our family used to spend on groceries, and how much our smaller family used to eat. Our grocery budget has more than doubled in the past few years, partly due to growing our family, some of it based on changes in our eating and such. I figured it might be easier to take a video rather than take pictures of every single thing--that could get lengthy! So here is what our family of 6 (2 adults, 1 school aged, 1 preschooler, and 2 toddlers who eat like grown men, not exaggerating) eats in a week!

The total for the week was $145.74. 
Like I said, I love seeing what other people eat, so if you've posted anything lately, let me know! 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

30 Things I've Learned Over the Last 30 Years

In honor of my 30th birthday, I thought I would take some time to think about all that I have learned over the last 30 years. 30 seems like such a big one to me. I feel like I spent a lot of my 20's trying to figure things out, building our family, and waiting on a lot of different things. I am really hopeful for my 30's and think it will be a great decade to enjoy where we are at. Over the last 10 years I have gone from a single college student who was about to meet the love of her life ;) to a wife of almost 9 years and mom of 4. That's a lot of change in 10 short years, and I have learned a lot through all of those experiences. 

1. The older I get, the faster time will go by. There is nothing I can do to stop this, so I just need to embrace it.

2. Self love and self care is extremely important, and is not selfish, so make time for it! 

3. Love is a choice, forgiveness is a choice, joy is a choice.

4. ALL emotions are legitimate, even if they are based on a lie. If we feel a certain way, we feel that way for a reason. 

5. Everybody is weird. We just are. I think we should all just own it and be ok with our weirdness.

6. Jesus can take the most broken, wretched mess, and redeem it. Anything. Things we think are beyond repair and completely hopeless. It never ceases to amaze me. 

7. Many of the things I have spent time dwelling on, or stressing about are things that I completely forget about later on, or don't end up mattering in light of the rest of my life, or eternity. Discerning between what is important and what isn't has become crucial. 

8. If you have a partner who deeply loves and respects you, you are extremely blessed. I think this is something that is more rare than many people realize. (I count myself among those who are blessed by this.) 

9. Children are not resilient. So many of our deeply rooted issues and pains stem from something that occurred when we were children. I hear people saying "they'll be fine. Kids are so resilient" all the time, and it frustrates me. I should blog about this soon, because I think there is a lot more to be said about this. 

10. Manners are really important. They can make or break someone's opinion of you, or how a situation is handled. Using them also just makes people like you more ;) 

11. 90% of the time (totally making that statistic up...) disagreements, hurts, fights, misunderstandings, etc. occur because of miscommunication. Maybe it's not really that often, but so much of the time it's true. Why are we so bad about talking about things? Why are we so easily offended? 

12. Instincts are a really nice thing. Much of the time, if something doesn't feel right, it's probably not. 

13. It is important to have priorities, goals, and dreams. They give you something to work toward and fulfill. 

14. Traveling is really fun, sure, but I've also learned that it's really important. It gives us opportunities to experience new things, people, cultures, and ideas that may be outside of our "bubble". It allows us to spend quality time (no work, no school, no commitments...) with our loved ones. It gives us a break from our every day responsibilities and stressors. It used to be hard sometimes to justify the expense of traveling, but now I see it as such a worthwhile investment. 

15. Life will never stop being confusing. You'll never have it all "figured out". 

16. Education is really important, and I really believe that, BUT now that I'm well past high school age, I can tell all the kids who are wondering "WHEN WILL I EVER USE THIS" that most of the time, the answer is never. Learn it anyway. It will help you learn to do hard things, be determined and problem solve, and those are all invaluable lessons to learn. 

17. Raising children is one of the most inexplicably incredible things we can do on this earth. 

18. Kindness really does matter. 

19. Every single person is worthy of love, kindness and acceptance. Whether or not you agree with them, whether or not you even like them. If you can't do those things, find one positive trait they have and dwell on that thing. 

20. Everyone needs their person. The person that will take their secrets to the grave, and who they can call on any time of the day and they will come running. If you don't have one of those, get one. They will enhance your life. 

21. Only what's done for Christ will last. Live with eternity in mind. 

22. Laughter really is great medicine. It is so good for the soul.

23. YOU can make a difference, and if you don't think you can, find a way. Too many people think they can't do great things and so they never do. 

24. Learning how someone prefers or needs to be loved is necessary. We don't all receive love in the same way, and finding out how someone feels most loved can make a world of difference. 

25. Parenting done right in the early years will make everyone's lives more enjoyable in the later years. (Wisdom from my pastor-- do the hard work when they're young and you'll be able to give them more grace and enjoy the teen years because they already know right from wrong.) 

26. Finding something you enjoy can really make life worth living. Hobbies are not a waste of time. 

27. There is a HUGE difference between knowing truth, and truth setting you free. I am learning that difference now and it is life changing.

28. Don't worry too much about what other people are doing. We can drive ourselves crazy with that. At the end of our lives, we are accountable to God for ourselves. 

29. Life really does get better with age. 

30. I am completely undeserving. Chosen by God for eternity, and reaping many blessings from Him here on Earth. I don't know why, but I am forever thankful. 
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Friday, July 7, 2017

What I've Been Reading: Vol. 3

Time to recap what I've been reading for the last few months! I actually didn't read a single book in June, which is weird for me. Life was just busy and crazy and it fell by the wayside. I'm trying to decide what I want to read next so I thought I'd go through and write about what I've read recently! 
For what I read the first few months of 2017, go here, and for some of the books I read in 2016 go here. 
  • Just a Kiss was the final book in Denise Hunter's Summer Harbor series. I loved the whole series so much! It kept me on my toes and they were all sweet romance stories. I love that each book focused on a new main character/couple but we still got to find out about the characters from the other books and how they were doing! I was sad to be ending this sweet series. 
  • Tidewater Inn is the first book in Colleen Coble's Hope Beach series. I loved this book as well. It was kind of a thriller, but not scary, and I had NO idea what was going to happen until right up at the end. The suspense was great in this story! This was one of those books where you really just fall in love with the characters and feel like you know them. 
  • I started Boundaries in early 2016 and only read a few chapters slowly and it was always on the backburner. Not until this year did I pick it back up and zoom right through it. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it really helped me see how setting appropriate boundaries is so necessary in relationships, no matter what the relationship is (personal, romantic, professional, etc.) It also helped me see where I have made some mistakes with setting, or not setting boundaries. I think the reason I didn't love it is because I felt like there should have been a lot more examples on how to actually set those boundaries. There were tons of stories of people setting boundaries and having their lives changed for the better, but I think for people who have struggled with setting boundaries, a big reason why they have may be because they don't actually know how to set them. If there were more practical tips in the book I think it would have been helpful, however, the book was very eye opening and I can see how it could be life changing for a lot of people and I'd consider it a must read for most people!
  • I loved the idea of the book Raising Uncommon Kids, however, it's another one I have mixed feelings about. My husband and I read this one together, and we both felt 'meh' about it. I love the way that she took 12 biblical traits and gave stories, tips and practical ways of teaching them to your kids. I love the importance of we as parents having those traits in ourselves before we can expect our children to model them. But I think maybe just a lot of what she talked about was unrelatable to us. I can't quite pinpoint why I didn't love it. We got some good ideas that we have implemented, and hope to implement, with our kids, but the majority just felt like we couldn't relate to it. I don't know if our family dynamic was just so different from hers or what, but something just didn't click with us. There were also several times where things just plain didn't make sense to us. At the end of one of the chapters, where she gives practical suggestions to make it stick with your kids, the examples she gave made no sense in relation to the chapter we'd just read. We read over them several times and both were at a loss to how it went with that chapter at all. I'd still recommend reading it, since there are some really good suggestions for parenting with a Biblical mindset. 
  • Rosemary Cottage is the 2nd book in the Hope Beach series. I also loved this book. Obviously it was very similar to Tidewater Inn, and featured some of the same characters. This one also kept me on my toes trying to put the pieces together!
  • Seagrass Pier was the final book in the Hope Beach series, and while I liked it, I definitely had a harder time getting through this one than the first 2. This book honestly freaked me out. The first two were suspenseful but not scary. This one scared me. The poor main character in this book is basically trying to keep herself, her young daughter, and her mother who has dementia, safe from a psycho stalker and it just felt too possible and frightening to me to really enjoy it all that much! The ending definitely threw me for a loop when she finds out who the stalker is...I didn't expect it at all.   
  • Another Coble book-Because You're Mine. The book sounded interesting, but I really didn't like it much at all. I felt like I didn't connect with or like the characters at all. I don't know if it was poor character development or what, but it just wasn't there for me. It was also very predictable at some parts, and just ridiculous at other parts. After all of the mysteries were solved, there were still several random things that I felt were unresolved and that was annoying to me. I typically love Colleen Coble but this book fell short and I don't recommend. 
  • Finally, The Hate U Give is the most recent book I've read. This book was powerful. I'll let you click over to read the full description, but I highly recommend this book. As someone who has been trying hard to learn more about systemic racism, and break down some of my own (unintended, but there nonetheless) racial bias, this book was very helpful for me. I think it was a very honest portrayal of many events occurring in our country right now re: an unarmed black male killed by a white police officer. There's so much more I could say about this book, but I'll stop, and tell you to read this book! Reading it helped me further understand how great my white privilege is and gave me some new perspective on racism in America today. 
And that brings me to today! Still trying to decide what I want to read next. Any suggestions?! 
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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Summer 2017...So Far!

Summer is absolutely flying by, per usual. We have been doing so much and having so much fun! I love how many community events and things to do there are in the summer, so we have been taking full advantage. I need to dump pictures off of my phone, so I figured I may as well blog about our summer so far, before I do that! 
We've been hitting park after park...

Doing lots of projects around the house...
Going to festivals and fairs...
Sleeping hard...
Having lunch dates with Daddy...
Playing at the Children's Museum...

Crushing swimming lessons...

Celebrating our favorite Dad...
Going to late night outdoor movies...
Playing at the Balloon Glow, an annual family favorite...
Hitting up a free summer kid's movie...
Annual church family retreat...

Mastering the 2 wheeled bike...
Doing messy projects...

Getting strep throat (BOO...who gets strep in the summer? Me and my little girl, apparently)
Cooling down at so many splash pads...
Zoo day with Aunt Katie...

Celebrating the 4th! 
We have definitely been squeezing in as much fun as possible. Hard to believe summer is almost 1/2 over. We have a TON more fun things coming up in the next month or so that I can't wait to share! Happy July!! 
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