{faith . family . friendship . fashion . fitness . food . fun . fabulosity}


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

{home sweet home}

Today we spent the day in Medford....sometimes I just love driving out there to spend a day hitting my favorite parts around town and getting back to my roots. Every time I drive into town I get that warm and fuzzy "I'm home" feeling. There's just something to be said about being in a place where everything is so comfortingly familiar. We spent the morning with Jill and the kids at Fort Medford. The kids absolutely love it there and after a little bit of a rough few days of feeling sorry for myself, it was great to just be myself with Jill. The weather today is incredible....75 degrees, sunny and breezy.....it's like a little sneak peek of the greatness of fall that's just around the corner! After the park, I took the kids to Rose's farm stand (one of our favorite Medford must go to locations) to get Leo's yum yum. DELICIOUS!!! The orange vanilla & lime vanilla are to die for! Next, we hit an antique store and then the girls spent a while playing with some goats (yes, goats) that we happened upon:) It was just one of those perfectly simple mornings. We got home just in time for a much needed nap for Claire and an earthquake (go figure) to rattle the house and completely terrify the girls and I!!!! We had just walked in the door, I put Claire in her bed and came downstairs and the entire house started shaking. The girls were screaming at me to go upstairs and get Claire, but I was just frozen trying to figure out what in the world was going on in my house. I was running all the scenarios through my head: train going super fast, nearby trees being uprooted, a jackhammer on the street, an earthquake? Certainly not an earthquake. As it was ending, the girls and I went outside to see what was going on in the rest of the world, I called Ryan to see if he felt anything and then I logged onto facebook (apparently, my news source) for confirmation. We did indeed experience our first earthquake. My heart was still racing for the next 20 minutes and the girls had so many questions. I'm hoping they sleep soundly tonight and aren't too traumatized by the fear they had in the moment. Next we go to pick up Lily Kate, our favorite one year old, who is spending the night at our house. The girls get to have their favorite baby around and I get to pretend for a day that I have four girls:) Can't wait!!


Monday, August 22, 2011

{final sale}

after a month of obsessively checking j.crew's website, the sale is finally here.....time to wrap up the school clothes shopping!!!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

{back2school bash}

If there's one thing I love to get my creative juices flowing, it's having a party to plan. I will usually find any and every excuse I can to throw a party just so I can the spend weeks (and sometimes months) leading up to it obsessing over every little detail. It's always sooooo worth it in the end to see how it all comes together....and then it all ends with a big slice of cake. Really, what's not to love? Next up is our Back 2 School Bash. Part of the fun of having kids is celebrating all the events in their lives....big or small. Life is too short to not take the time to make the most of every little milestone and moment. The way I look at it, these are the days I will never get back, so while they're here, I am going to revel in them...one cupcake worthy celebration at a time:) The girls and I can't wait to have some friends over for one last play date before school starts. Here's a sneak peak of what's to come!!:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

{the new girl}

As much as I love being in NJ and feel like we are starting to settle in here, every now and then I get hit with the feeling of still being the new girl or the outsider and wonder how long it really does take before a place truly feels like home. To be honest, this week was a little tough for me. There were a few "biting back the tears" moments, but I guess that comes with the territory of being the new girl. Every now and then the wind gets a little knocked out of my sails like when I'm with friends with whom I think I've become very close and suddenly their old friend is back in town visiting and everyone's making plans in front of me that don't include me because the "old crowd" is getting back together and I wasn't here then....I was never a part of the old crowd. So no matter how close I think we are now, I don't get the pleasure of being a part of those plans. Kids that are being asked for sleepovers right in front of us and mine aren't invited because they haven't been around forever and they are not on the forefront of anyone's mind. Watching Emma play by herself on the fringe of the group because the other kids have known each other their entire lives and like her mama, she's the new girl who is still sort of disposable and can be easily forgotten. Or when Emma leaves camp telling me all about a "friend" and that other little girl has no idea who she is, because to Emma that little girl is one of a few, but to the other girl who's lived here her whole life, Emma is just one of many. Sorry to be so raw, but today, this loneliness is my reality and maybe some of you have been here and can relate. It was just a long week being in close quarters with friends while have constant subtle reminders that any way you look at it, I'm still the new girl. On the bright side, five years down the road, I may be wrinklier and older than I am now, but at least I won't be new.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

{stick with me}

Ryan has been out of town all week with his macbook and my backup computer and laptop have not been cooperating with me, so I apologize for the lack of posts! It's frustrating for me to see all the new visitors on the page and to know that I'm not offering anything new for you. Stick with me....hubby gets home tomorrow and I'll be posting away. Hope you all are having a blessed week and are enjoying the winding down of your summer. Here's some food for thought in the meantime.....

"For wherever your treasure is, there your heart will also be." Luke 12:34

What is it that you're treasuring and who or what holds your heart the most? If you are being honest with yourself, the answer may not be what you expect it to be. Here are two questions to ask yourself to find where your heart really is: 1. Where do you spend the majority of your money? 2. Where do you spend the majority of your time? I was challenged by this this past weekend and have been doing some soul searching of my own to find out the answers for my own life. Nothing like a little inventory every now and then to help keep your priorities in line:)


Monday, August 15, 2011


I can remember pretty much from the day that we got married how Ryan and I were dying for a golden retriever. We would spend our spare time browsing through pet stores or looking in the paper for puppies. And then one day we found it: a litter of golden retriever pups ready to be adopted. Immediately after work that night, we went to the breeder's home and fell in love with the precious litter of puppiess. It didn't take long for us to choose the right one....we knew we wanted a boy and this little guy had the perfect balance of cuddliness and playfulness. That night, we took home Doug, our little "nugget" for the first time. For years, Doug was like a child to us. I remember driving down the road with him on my lap, walking through the streets of downtown West Palm with him, making a bed for him under my desk at work, swimming with him in the ocean, running with him along the seawall, playing with him in the park, rolling around with him in the snow. I remember the way he "talked" to me, spooning him on the couch night after night and telling him he was the "best boy I ever had", how he instantly seemed protective of Emma when we brought her home from the hospital, how he was always the most content right by our sides. Neither one of us have ever really been dog people, but we were Doug people. Shortly after Madeline was born, our house was too small and our growing family was taking precedence over our beloved dog. We felt like poor Doug who had been our one and only for so long was getting neglected and pushed aside because of the demands of having a two year old and a newborn and a house with a yard too small for him to run free. Around that same time, my brother, who had always loved Doug, was suffering from a brain tumor. His health was only declining and he needed a companion to keep his spirits high. We sent Doug to live with Tim and for a while, it was the perfect solution for both of them. After a year and a half, the cancer won the battle and my brother was called home to be with Jesus. At that point, Claire was already on the way and we didn't think we were ready to take Doug back home again. Thankfully, my sister was willing to take him and he's been a part of their family ever since. I loved that even though Doug didn't still live with us, he was still in the family...he was still my boy who's ears I could rub and who I could snuggle with every chance I got. This weekend we got the call that Doug, who had been fighting cancer for a while now, was rapidly declining and the time had come to put him down. Ryan and I spent the weekend looking over all of our old photo albums and Doug's baby pictures and reliving the first 8 years of our marriage with our boy. I hate that we didn't get to say goodbye, tell him we loved him or hold him one last time. He was a huge part of our lives and will always be missed. But maybe, just maybe Tim just got his buddy back:)


{product junkie}

Thanks to my sister, I've become a product junkie. I could browse through Sephora all day scoping out all the products. And the free samples? Hello, are you kidding me?!?! Getting hooked up with the right sales girl at Sephora is a dream come true....I love leaving there with an endless supply of miracle working products to try out:) Ahh, it's just like christmas morning! After much research, bareMinerals Pure Transformation Night Treatment is going to be my next splurge. I'm desperate to shrink my pores, revive my skin and fade any imperfections (who isn't?). This one's gotten rave reviews and I can't wait to try it...I'll let you know how it goes!


{art camp}

Mad & Emmy started art camp today. It's such a treat for them to be at Miss Rebecca's house doing all sorts of fun art projects, seeing their friends and having their little minds stimulated after a long and lazy summer. When I picked them up, Emma said that her brain was aching....I told her it was probably because she hadn't used it in so long;) I'm excited to see what this week brings for my little picasso's as I get to spend some one on one time with Claire bear. The two of us have some busy mornings planned....story time, a few playdates, errands to run and a few treats thrown in so she doesn't feel totally jipped. Ryan's leaving again for a trip this afternoon (booooo) so I'm thankful for a full schedule to keep me preoccupied this week while he's gone (and for the Bachelor Pad to keep me preoccupied for at least one of the four nights!).


Saturday, August 13, 2011


This morning, we were out for breakfast and the owner of the cafe came over to check in and say hello. Shortly after, I took all three girls to the bathroom and left Ryan alone at the table. While we were gone, the man walked back by and said to Ryan, "Three girls, huh? Three was a breeze and then I had a fourth and I'm still not recovered from it.". Thank you, Mr. cute little coffee shop in Ocean City man for completely ensuring that I will never have another baby!!! So as an official follow up to my earlier post entitled {four}....AIN'T. GONNA. HAPPEN. EVER. On a brighter side, while Ryan and I were soaking up some sun together on the beach in complete peace and quiet while the girls played together in the sand, we realized how good we've got it and that is a blessing in itself :)



This week was Emma's "half birthday". She was so excited to now be seven and a half, but all I could think about is that 7.5 is halfway to 15. Yes, FIFTEEN!!!!!! To be honest, I remember being 15 and all of the drama that came along with it and the thought terrified me. But more importantly, 15 is just plain old and it's that much closer to my baby being all grown up:( And considering how the first seven and a half years of her life has absolutely flown by, I know without a doubt that before I know it, my little girl will indeed be fifteen. Why does it have to be this way? I spent my childhood in such a hurry to be all grown up and now I am and suddenly time moves at a warped speed. My tiny baby whom I once sang "Isn't She Lovely" to every single night turns 7 in the blink of an eye, my skin sags despite my best efforts to stay toned, I can't go anywhere without makeup. (I would go on, but really it's just too depressing). I've been saying it for years now, but if I had one wish it may just be that time would stand still....or at least slow down for a while. Motherhood is by far one of the greatest blessings in my life, but with it comes a tremendous burden. I'm not just talking about the day in, day out burden of lost sleep, a house that always has an incredibly high noise volume or laundry piles that have been in mountain form for years. I'm talking about the burden of having three girls that will one day be women whom God has entrusted to Ryan and I to "train in the way they should go". That one day these little peanuts of mine will be out of my care and on their own. I am a perfectionist and an idealist, so there are many things that I want or hope for my daughters: I want them to be smart and beautiful, happy and successful, gentle and kind. I want them to have great style, handsome husbands, a handful of kids, a golden retriever and a house with a picket fence (or is this just what I want for myself?;)). But so much more than that, I want them to be holy. I don't mean holy as in "holier than thou", stand-offish, how dare you holy. I mean holy as in pure in heart. I want them to love what is good and to be driven by it. I want them to realize that there is so much more to this world than themselves. I want them to see the bigger picture and to have a heart for other people. Lately, this is what I've been praying for my girls:

"She obeys me, she accepts my correction, she does trust in the Lord, she does draw near to God." (adapted from zephaniah 3:2)

This sums up my hopes for my daughters. I want Emma, Madeline & Claire to be girls (and one day women) who obey, accept correction, trust in the Lord and draw near to God. Above all else, I want them to know God in the same way I know Him and to know the freedom that it brings. I also want them to never grow up, but somehow I don't think that one's gonna happen:(


Thursday, August 11, 2011

{the little things}

Today was one of those perfect days that just makes me so thankful for my crew of little girls. I took the girls to the mall for mommy & me craft time. The discovery museum did a super-cute presentation on dinosaurs, there was a bounce house, some crafts and some treats and prizes for the kids. Afterwards, we walked the mall to go on our bigouting of the morning....to Bath & Body Works to buy new "hanatizer" for their backpacks. I adore little girls and the fact that picking out their newest scent of hand sanitizer is a fascinating event. The four of us were like kids in a candy store, smelling all of the different scents and deciding which bottle would match the best with each girl's backpack. They were also excited to pick out some bottles to send to their cousins for a back to school gift and made me text Kristin right there in the store to find out what color Lily & Jane's backpacks are:) The girls were in heaven and I was in heaven watching their joy over a silly little $1 item.
Afterwards, we brought a delivery of Rita's water ice to daddy's office and sat outside at the picnic table enjoying a sunny summer afternoon and midday work break with all the cryo guys and Aunt Rach. Two simple pleasures that absolutely made the day of my three little girls. It doesn't take much:) Ahhhh, life is good!!

{people person}

I had a friend say to me the other day, "I feel like I need to tell you: I read your blog." She went on to ask me if I felt weird being so open: putting myself out there and having people know exactly what's going on in my life and what I am thinking. I have to admit, for a split second I thought to myself, "Wait a minute, am I crazy? Should I be more private? Why do I feel like it's ok to bare my soul in this way?" and then just as quickly the thought vanished because that's just not who I am. It's not how I'm wired. I am a people person. I have often been told that a conversation with me can often seem like an interview because I ask so many questions. The truth is, I ask those questions because I really do care. People fascinate me. I really do want to know your daughter's middle name, what color you painted your bathroom or who your best friend was growing up. And if you tell me, I can pretty much guarantee that I'm gonna commit it to memory and never forget it. I guess the same goes for me.....I'm an open book. There's not really much that I'm not willing to share with anyone that cares enough to ask. The way I look at it, we are all just people. We are all flawed in our own way. No matter how different we may appear on the outside, when you get right down to it, we all have the same fears, the same longings and similar needs brewing on the inside. So who cares? Apparently not I. Do you want to know that I left my baby in the car once or that I leave the house about three times a week without my wallet? Do you want to know that I do some sort of exercise about once every five minutes (much to my sister's annoyance) but I'll devour an entire cake if it gets anywhere within my arm's reach? I'll gladly tell you....because that's me. A girl that's often getting it wrong, but redeemed by a God who loves me in spite of my greatest shortcoming. Whether you're reading because you know me and love me, or you're reading because you know me and can't stand me, or you're reading even though you have no idea who I am but came across my blog when you put "birthday cake, working out, j crew & babies" in your google search box.....welcome! I'm really glad you're here:)



It's been a while since I've done a list of my current favorite things, so I thought it was about time. Here's what I can't get enough of right now....

1. early morning runs: cool air, quiet streets, burning calories and a route that has me running by homes that look like they're right out of the Truman Show....what's not to love?;)

2. french press coffee: totally old school but totally worth the effort.

3. mornings on my porch: i love how starting my day sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee and my bible completely changes my perspective and gives me just what i need to make the most of my day.

4. murad sun undone: for someone who's been fighting freckles for years, this product is a miracle worker. i'm hooked.

5. bare escentuals: LOVE every product and I love the makeup geniuses in the boutique that always know exactly what I need.

6. trader joes: (mom, are you proud??) i think i've officially become obsessed with this grocery store. i love the simplicity of it, i love the food and i love that somehow going there is an "event" that even the kids enjoy. (the frees samples, stickers, and hunt for the monkey game that results in lollipops could have something to do with it)

7. the swim club: there really aren't any words to express it's awesomeness and how it has saved my life this summer;)

8. bachelor pad: go ahead, judge me. then watch for yourself and see how television really cannot get any better than that. ever.

9. treat receipts: the pay off for my hubby making his daily stops at starbucks in the morning means i get a nightly walk to main street and an iced latte for myself.

10. home: after being away for so long at the beginning of the summer (don't get me wrong, florida was AMAZING and i can't wait to do it again next year) i am thankfully reminded of how much i love our house, our life here and how good it feels to be HOME.

11. flat belly diet: oh so thankful for my never failing, miracle working, go-to diet to get my butt back into shape after a summer of slacking.

12. ben & jerry's coffee heath bar crunch ice cream: almost more heath bars than ice cream. unreal. (ummm.....maybe why i need the flat belly diet?)

13. my girls: i am so thankful that i get to spend my days with them and i swear they get sweeter by the minute.

14. back to school time: i know i'm being redundant, but there's just something to be said about a fresh new backpack and lunchbox, a new stack of clothes, unworn and unscuffed shoes and the promise of a new year and the change of seasons that i just adore.

15. pottery barn kids halloween floor set: as usual, i'm completely in love. stayed tuned, because this is so great it deserves it's own post!

Ok, this list is ridiculously long. Apparently, I love a lot of things and I could go on all day, but I'll spare you for now....


Thursday, August 4, 2011

{coffee talk}

Growing up, Jill was like a sister to me. We had that love/hate, super close but could be violatile kind of friendship thing going on (which our poor parents had to deal with on family vacations!). I am so thankful that the Lord has crossed our paths again in this season of our lives. There are some people that you are able to be closely connected to regardless of time and distance....it's been such a blessing to pick back up with this dear friend:) One of my favorite new routines are the early mornings that we spend together....catching up, sharing what's going on in our hearts and talking about the things that really matter over a cup (ok, several cups) of coffee while our kids play together. Just another little blessing that makes it feel more like home here:) Now, enough typing....time to get dressed and go deplete Jill's supply of K cups!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011


The question I get more than any other (and the one I have the most difficulty answering) is without a doubt "Are you having more kids?". For Ryan, the answer is a resounding 100% NO! He has a long list of very logical reasons for why we should not have another baby. For me, the answer is not so simple. I also have a list and it's anything but logical: I have always wanted to have four kids...I don't know if I just like round numbers or if four just seems like a lot and three doesn't (unless they are all complaining, whining or fighting...then three seems like plenty!) or if I just want one more baby to name and dress (could be!) or if I don't want my babies to grow up and that phase of my life to be over (sniff, sniff) or if deep down inside I really do feel like our family isn't complete just yet. What I do know is that I struggle with this daily. Take yesterday, for example....I'm at the pool with the kids which, like most things lately, has become QUITE EASY. I spent all morning watching a mother of three preschoolers lose her mind at the baby pool. Literally, this lady was on the verge of losing it. Chasing all three kids at once, screaming at them, pulling her hair out...the whole nine yards. Meanwhile, Emma and Madeline were off having tea parties underwater and taking turns on the diving board while Claire waded in the baby pool with her Barbies and I was laying out working on my tan and reading a book. I kept thinking about how relieved I was that I was no longer in the throes of toddler chasing, diaper changing, never sit still motherhood and how it really was ok if I never had another baby. While I was still reveling in my "life is good" mindset, I walked right past the cutest mom ever (tiny bikini, toned body, tanned skin and all), with her FOUR girls in matching swimsuits and eight little pink rubber flip flops all lined up in a row and the longing hit me in the gut all over again. SO. TYPICAL. It left me right back at sqaure one thinking that if I could throw all logic out the window, I'd have another baby in a heartbeat. Because the only thing cuter than three little girls......is four:)