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


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

party time (almost!)

It's party week around here which means that I am in all out planning mode! I can't believe that my tiny baby girl is going to be an EIGHT year old in just a few days. WHERE OH WHERE DOES THE TIME GO??? Since I can't slow time down, I figure I better start celebrating it and enjoying the ages and stages we're at. This stage we're at is all about the American Girl doll, so that's the big theme for Em's party this year. Emmy and I have been having a blast working out the details for this party together (so crazy to me that she's big enough to bounce ideas off of!). This isn't going to be the biggest, grandest bash I've thrown but it's been special to plan all the details with the birthday girl and getting things just how she dreams it to be. I can't wait to post pics of the big day, but first....time to go make some teeny tiny doll sized party hats!!;)

Monday, January 30, 2012


I promised a little snippet each week from my detox study. This week the focus was on anxiety.

To be honest, for the most part, I wasn't feeling it. Not to say that I never struggle with anxiety or fear (and definitely not to say that I don't struggle at all because there are plenty of weeks that are going to kick me in the butt.). It's just that over the past few years, God has just shown up for us over and over again. From our fear over Claire not being able to walk and/or grow to two moves and countless concerns in between, God has been FAITHFUL. He has showed up to meet our every need and shown us over and over again that He does indeed work all things together for good. In that process, I have learned to hold tight to His perfect plan for our lives and to not fear troubles that come across our path. There is something that continually causes me anxiety, however, and that is my need for perfection. I am a perfectionist who will spend three (or four...ok maybe five) hours online creating (and paying a fortune for) the cutest valentines I can find because whatever my girls bring to school needs to be PERFECT. I will spend months on end planning a birthday party down to the very last detail because what good is a party if it's not PERFECT. I get stressed out if my girls are displaying the same bad behavior over and over again because although they are human, why can't they be PERFECT?!?! I am willing to pay top dollar to live in the town that was voted "#1 in America" because that must mean its pretty darn close to PERFECT. That being said, this is what jumped off the page at me this week:

"We live in a culture that expects women to have perfect looks, perfect marriages, perfect children, and perfect careers, treating anything less with disgust(who me?!). Every single one of us is drowning in an unrelenting flood of stressful tasks, demands, and pressures. Believe me; even those who exude an air of confidence and poise secretly struggle with feelings of anxiety and neverending worry. But God never intended for us to be caught in this emotional cesspool. God's perfect love will calm the raging storms of anxiety and the thunder of worry in our lives-if we will allow him to rescue us."

"Perfect love drives out fear." 1 John 4:18

{photo fun}

A little fun at the photo booth at church this weekend. The girls had a blast and were in there all night....more pics to follow!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I love women. I am fascinated by them. I'm not sure when but somewhere along the way I realized that although we are all so different on the outside, when you peel back the layers we are actually not that different at all. I am a self professed snob. I know, I know it's terrible. But I am and I know it. My sister laughs at me because I have a "zero tolerance" policy for a lot of things: mom jeans, scrunchies, midwestern accents, "bed in a bag" style decorating, kids with mismatched clothes and bad haircuts, pantries stocked with fritos, doritos and 2 liters....just to name a few. Admittedly, I'm pretty hard core about my disgust for these things. Just ask Kristin how many times I've rolled my eyes and told her "Ugh, I would never!". What I haven't readily admitted is that while I am rolling my eyes at the frumpy mom jeans and greasy hair pulled back into that scrunchy, I am looking at that woman beside me wondering if she's a much more patient mother than I am because while I spent an extra 20 minutes that morning obsessing over which jeans fit me best that day (and getting irritated at the little ones interrupting me in that ever so important process), maybe she was taking that time to teach her preschooler how to tie his shoe. Maybe she was playing candy land for the third time since breakfast. Maybe she was (gasp!) scrubbing toilets or mopping her floors. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've learned that just because my jeans may be cuter than hers, it doesn't make me any better than her. We are all gifted in different ways and (are you ready for this?!) life is not a competition. After all, where would we be if we didn't have one another to learn from? There is so much freedom in realizing that.

That being said, I love participating in bible studies. I love getting together with women from all different walks of life and getting deep with each other; learning what makes each other tick. Learning what things in life we all allow to make us or break us. I started a new study last night called Detox. Detox is a favorite word of mine (usually when related to my diet;)). I love the thought of cleaning out all the junk and starting fresh. And if I happen to lose five pounds in the process, that's just icing on the cake. Actually, with all the cake I eat, it probably really is the icing, but anyway. I was already excited for the study and then I opened the book and read down the list of topics we would be studying and I could barely contain my excitement: anxiety, negative thoughts, self-acceptance, body image, comparison, sexuality, aloneness, forgiveness and ungratefulness. Wow, what a list! I have to be honest, one or two jumped right off the page at me (If you know me well and are trying to guess which ones, stop judging me!!) that I had to skip ahead in the book for a sneak peek. My hope for the following weeks during this study is to share my favorite insights from these chapters here as I am stretched and learn more about conquering these issues. There are so many issues that we face as women. I'm excited to tackle them from a biblical perspective and get my head on straight!

"And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:32
Freedom from obsessing over my weight, anxiety about my future or comparing myself to every girl that's skinnier, cuter or richer than I am? Bring it!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

{s t r e t c h}

I was challenged by a friend a few weeks ago to define what my goal is for the year 2012 in one word (I don't think I can do anything in one word!). I love being asked questions that make me dig deep; my problem always seems to lie in finding the answer. I was in a small group years ago and was asked the question "What fuels you?". Everyone else in the room answered the question on the spot. Seven years later I still am unsure of my answer. This time around, I was intimidated by the question but began doing some soul searching for my word. That one word that would define what I wanted to strive for this year. I usually have all of the same old resolutions: to clean my house more, organize my closets, stay on top of the laundry, be bikini ready by june, etc. Those things are great (and MUCH needed in my life) but they are not enough. They are not it. And I'm pretty sure that even though I've resolved to do them this year, I'll be resolving to do them for 10 Januaries more. I'm happy to say that only 23 days into the year and I found it! I want to s t r e t c h. There are areas in my life where I can see the need to require more of myself; to not settle for mediocracy but to stretch myself toward excellence. Being a good friend/partner to my husband is mediocre. Learning him and anticipating his needs requires more. Training my children to be merely well behaved on the outside for the sake of my sanity is mediocre. Training them to have pure hearts on the inside requires more. Showing up at bible study and answering questions is mediocre. Digging deep into God's word and really seeking to know who He is requires more. Serving baked ziti or chicken nuggets for dinner over and over again is mediocre. Scouring websites and cookbooks (and splashing hot oil in my face like I did today) to try new recipes requires more. Running a few miles on the treadmill is mediocre. Pushing my body to its limit and training for a marathon requires more. Blogging once every four months is mediocre. Blogging consistently requires more. I could go on for hours. The point is, I want to be stretched. I want to not settle for a mediocre, easy way out version of myself. I want to stretch myself towards something more.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

{the WALL}

It happens about twice a year. I get to a point where I've just simply had ENOUGH. If you are a mother of small children, you know what I mean. The point where another hand grabbing your leg, screech reaching your ears, glass of milk spilling, night of sleep disrupted way too early, toy you've already tripped over three times that day blocking your path (are you feeling me?) is enough to make you either pull all of your hair out or run out the door screaming and never look back. Or in my case, crawl in bed, pull the covers far over your head, crouch up in a ball and pretend the world outside that cocoon does not exist. Today was that day for me. My semi-annual "I need a vacation; I need to escape this place; I love my children to death but right now I feel like I actually am dying, drowning, suffocating and I'm not really ready to die yet" wall.

Last night as I was cleaning up after dinner and winding down the day, I realized that I had snapped at my girls more times than I had encouraged them. I had glared at them more times than I had hugged them. I had reminded them over and over again about everything they had done wrong and rarely praised them for what they had done right. And I was oh so ready to put them in bed and escape them for the night. I had attributed this to a rough day, but did not yet recognize this for what it was: THE WALL. I realized that I had fully hit my limit when they woke up this morning (at 7:00...a triumph for them as far as sleeping in goes!) and after about the first fifteen minutes (to my credit, Emma remembered that it was Chinese New Year and thought it would be fun to bang pots and pans to ward off the evil spirits) all those feeling from the night before started again. It's one thing to be irritated by every last thing at the end of the day, but to be irritated by 7:15am is just bad news!

When I reach this place that motherhood becomes more of a burden than a privilege, I know that it's time to carve out time for myself. To re shift my focus on the God whose love is always steadfast and whose arms are always open no matter how many times I whine, complain or make the same foolish and irritating mistakes over and over. That is the first step. To recognize the perfect parent and to remember the example that He has set forth. The second step is to book a hotel room for myself or a flight to somewhere far away (in this case, Florida!) to just be ME for a while. To be one person instead of 4. To sleep in until a time when my body decides it's ready to wake up, to dress only myself in the morning and to do anything or nothing at all. Whatever I want. Oh, don't get me wrong. I love those precious little faces with my whole heart, but sometimes this battery needs to be recharged. And for the love of my little girls, they deserve it....and so do I.