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


Thursday, February 9, 2012

{how did i not know sooner?!}

Ummmm......if I had known that I could shop on Etsy for adorable additions for my classroom-to-be, I'm pretty sure I would've started homeschooling years ago! Seriously, though. I'm not exactly kidding. It's no secret that I am obsessive about the details. Which is exactly why I am starting this project now. Vintage french or vintage modern? Ahhh, decisions decisions! Oh, and in case you are wondering why in the world I have decided to head down this path or if you are even slightly considering homeschooling yourself, check out confessionsofahomeschooler.com and read the "Why We Homeschool" link under her About Me. She says everything I have been thinking, feeling and saying yet in a much more eloquent way. Touched me to the core....so much so that after sobbing my way through it I kind of wanted to start this whole homeschool thing like yesterday.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

{isn't she lovely}

I've never been a huge Stevie Wonder fan, but for some reason back in 2004 I became one. As I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with Emma, I heard the song "Isn't She Lovely" and the emotional, hormonal mess that I was became so in love with those words and the anticipation of the long awaited, sure to be lovely baby girl that I was about to meet. From the first moment the doctor laid Emmy on my chest, I began to sing that song to her. "Isn't she lovely. Isn't she wonderful. Isn't she precious, less than a minute old....." and I sang it to her again and again as I held her, as I nursed her, as I rocked her in the middle of the night. More often than not, with tears of complete awe streaming down my face; changing the verse with the changing of the minutes, days, weeks, months and years. In the blink of an eye, my sweet baby girl went from "less than a minute old" to "already eight years old". And gosh darn it, just like I've been claiming for years.....she is lovely. I often have trouble finding words to describe Emma, probably because she's always been so complex. The more I know her and the more I study her, the more I realize that lovely really is the perfect word for her. She is kind and gentle, nurturing and deep, funny and refined, timid and wise.....put it all together and she's just plain lovely.

{beautifully ordinary}

This started out as a mommy blog, a place for me to document the childhood(s?) of my girls...to jot things down so I could have a place to look back and not forget these moments in their lives. Over time, my readers have grown to include people that I don't know, people that I didn't know I knew (if that makes sense) and close family and friends whom I adore. I love nothing more these days than getting an unexpected email or text from a stranger or a friend letting me know how a post that I've written has touched them in one way or another. There are days when my mind is just dry and I can't think of a single thing to say (usually when I'm filling in with a style tip or yummy recipe) and then there are days when my mind is reeling nonstop and I write until my fingers ache and the post is so long you go blurry eyed reading it. You may have noticed the new name for the blog "beautifully ordinary". To me it sums up who I am and why I write. We are all ordinary....we're just people. No matter what successes or failures we may or may not have under out belt, the truth is that we're all on an equal playing field. To put it bluntly, all of our s*!% stinks. Yet, we are beautiful. We were made in the image of our Creator and we are oh so beautiful whether we realize it or not. My hope is that you would realize it. I hope that this is a place where you can come to learn that about yourself...that maybe through my brutal honesty, you would come to realize that no matter what painful, hard, terrible or wonderful things you face from day to day, there is incredible, beautiful value in you. I am also a huge fan of taking the ordinary things in life....whether it be a birthday party, a trip to the beach or just another tuesday afternoon...and making it beautiful. I thrive on the details...going the extra mile to add a little beauty to the mundane and I love to share those ideas and inspire you. And above all, I am a mother; one of the most ordinary jobs in the world....afterall, every person alive has one or has had one. My desire, while I may not always do it perfectly, is to mother my daughters beautifully, with love and grace and mercy. I would love nothing more than when my kids are grown and someone asks what their mother was like for their answer to be "She was beautifully ordinary.". I figure it beats being flat out crazy;)

So thank you all for your emails, texts and comments....they make me happy.....and please, keep them coming!

{wonderfully made}

Recently, it has come to my attention that maybe, just maybe, I have some insecurity issues. And by recently, I'm pretty sure I mean my entire adolescent and adult life. I have a habit of making friends with people of whom I am extremely envious. Even if I am not envious of them at first, as I get to know them more, I find things about them that I convince myself are lacking in my own life and I simply cannot measure up. Recently, it all revolves around my insecurities over my appearance. To be specific, as I am aging (noticeably, I might add), as my metabolism is slowing down (despite the trillions of hours I log in the gym), as I look in the mirror and see my dad's face staring back at me (don't get me started), I seem to have friends that are overflowing with natural beauty. Friends that are blessed with genes that keep them eternally and effortlessly skinnier than I will ever be, or with hair that is either blonder (or browner) and always shinier, friends that can put on a trash bag and look gorgeous. But they don't put on trash bags; instead they put on gorgeous clothes and look like super models. (Apparently, I only become friends with really pretty people....maybe I need to change that.) And day after day, I am fighting back the constant crippling thoughts that I am the ugly one. Crippling to the point where somedays I want to cancel my plans because I know that no matter what I wear or how I style my terribly cut hair, I won't measure up and it'll eat away at me all day. I know it's silly and I KNOW that I am overwhelmingly blessed in so many ways. I even know that I have talents and gifts that others don't have....but for some reason my head tells me that those things are not nearly as important as how I look and so they don't matter. I was talking this through with Toni on our run a few weeks ago and her response was "Don't be silly. I don't want to hear it. Do you know how many millions of girls would die to be you?" That helped. For about thirty seconds. I thought "Hey, maybe I'm not as bad off as I think!" and then immediately I convinced myself that those millions of girls were all barefoot and toothless and hanging out in Walmart. Because the only way you'd want to look like me was if being toothless was your alternative. Obviously. I was not saying these things to Toni to fish for compliments just as I am not writing these words to all of you for that reason. I am writing because I have a hunch that as women we all struggle with this in one way or another. Maybe this is because I can see the competition and defeat in my own daughters when they feel that their sister looks "more beautiful" than them that day. Maybe this is because my five year old comes home from Kindergarten feeling badly about herself because she isn't as "fancy or sparkly" as the other girls. Maybe it is because every magazine cover is showing us an airbrushed version of what we as women need to strive to look like. Maybe you are the drop dead gorgeous one but you see everyone else and all you can see are their happy marriages when yours is struggling or their beautiful children and for years you haven't been able to conceive a child of your own. The point is, we all have our insecurities that speak lies to us about who we are and where our worth is found. I'm learning to kiss those lies goodbye and replace the negative soundtrack in my head that tells me I'm not good enough with the truth that I am wonderfully made. And you, my friend, are wonderfully made as well.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works (that's me...and you) are wonderful, I know that full well (ok, maybe I don't know it that well yet, but I'm working on it)." psalm 139:13-14

Sunday, February 5, 2012

{oreo brownies}

"combine brownie mix as usual but instead of adding water, add cookies 'n cream ice cream and hot fudge" lol! that's my kind of recipe....can't wait to break into these tonight during the super bowl! recipe courtesy of kevinandamanda.com :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

{partied out!}

We had a long day of partying and I am so tired I can barely type....wanted to get a few of my favorite pics of the birthday girl up before I forgot. Such a great day...so many memories made!

Friday, February 3, 2012

{beach bound}

On a lighter note...I was in target this morning picking up some groceries and happened upon this bikini top for my trip to Florida next week. It was the last one in the store and was my size....totally meant to be!;) I love mismatched suits, love animal prints and LOVE coral....can't wait to throw it on with some black bottoms and hit the beach!!!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

{h o m e schooling?!?!}

If you've learned anything about me, it's probably the fact that I have a storybook perception of how life should look and I often struggle with striving for that (I'm blaming this for watching too many movies during my childhood;)). Kids in storybooks live in houses with white picket fences, live on tree lined streets and hop on and off the big yellow school bus to and from school each day (hopefully with warm chocolate chip cookies waiting for them when they return home). This, of course, was the plan I had for my children. I'm starting to think it may not be God's plan for them. It could very well be, after all, that the Hollywood version of what a perfect childhood looks like may not be what His version of their perfect childhood looks like. I am learning to be ok with that.

For a while now, I have had a quiet, gentle voice whispering "homeschooling" to me over and over again. Ryan, on the other hand, has not. Until recently. This afternoon, I got a call from him about how he feels our girls are too busy and we don't have the time with them we need and that he's starting to think that homeschooling may be where we are headed. These have been the exact thoughts I have been wresting with over the past month. So between the both of us feeling lead in that direction, it looks like this is the road we are heading down and now the question becomes not if but when?

For years, I've threatened homeschooling based on a fear of what I didn't want my kids exposed to. Well, while I'm not thrilled with the fact that Emma belted out with "I'm Sexy and I Know It" (lovely) on the way home from gymnastics tonight (thank you, little John Pryer), it's no longer these fears that have lead us here. The fact is simply this: I have a little girl who will be 8 next week (halfway to 16 as I keep looking at it) whom I have not seen for the better part of three years. I rush her off to the bus in the morning and eight long hours later I get her back just in time to squeeze in a meal, a homework session and a quick shower. Forget about it if we have gymnastics, girl scouts or a play date with a friend. I decided a few weeks ago that the girls need to start putting their own laundry away. So far it's happened exactly twice and here's the reason: every time I go to tell them to do it, I realize that it comes down to them having the time to shower or the time to take care of their laundry and the shower always wins. They do need to bathe, after all. And the laundry sits there for another day because gosh darn it, they will have chores if it kills me so I am not going to put it away!

When the girls were all little, I was always busy. But it was a different kind of busy....it was me filling my days busy. Let's go to the gym and then grab Starbucks with friends busy. Let's hang out at the water park all day busy. It's beautiful out and we're heading to the beach busy. Now life is just busy period. A busy-ness that's out of my control. An "I will see you on the weekend and ask you then how your life is" busy. That's not what I want for my family. I want more than anything to speak truth into my girl's lives and there are just not enough hours in the day to do it. I find myself counting down the days until summer when I can see my girls....really see them...and it's only February.

It's ironic to me that whenever I reach a really good season in my life, I suddenly feel an urging to be stretched in a different way. I guess that goes hand in hand with my new year's resolution this year. It seems that whenever I hit my stride in life this happens. If nothing else, it keeps me from becoming complacent and for that I am thankful. I have it pretty easy right now. Every single afternoon (unless I choose to skip it for a playdate), I put Madeline on the bus and Claire goes down for her nap and I have a few hours of sweet silence. Next year Claire will be in preschool and I'd be heading for the glory days of having hours upon hours of me time. I'm pretty sure it's looking like me time with have to wait a few years. But you know what? That's ok. Because when I get there, one thing I know for sure: I will look back on these days and more than anything in the world, I will long for them again. And I know that if I never went through with it, never gave my girls a shot at being home with me, I'd regret it. For me, the biggest heartache of motherhood is how fast they grow and how quickly time flies; if there's one regret I don't want to have it would be not soaking up every second I could with them when I had the chance.

Now comes the question of when and how we will make this transition....but it looks like eventually our playroom will start resembling a school room (and yes, I'm kind of excited to put vintage alphabet cards on the walls).

{colored denim}

Along with the rest of the world, I'm crushing on colored denim right now. I just bought a pair of red jeans but this pic seals the deal....I'm now on the hunt for green. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

{date night}

The day I've been waiting for has finally come....we now have an official "date night" around here. Ryan and I have always made date nights a priority, but even at that we can often go a few weeks or even a month without actually scheduling a babysitter and making it happen. Well, now we have Jenny.....the cutest 14 year old in the world who comes complete with her own bag of tricks to entertain the girls:) They absolutely adore her and Ryan and I adore having Tuesday nights to look forward to. First of all, there's something so great about getting out of doing "bedtime". Why is that? There's just something about being so done at the end of the day that just makes bedtime an annoyance for me. Like come on...do you really need a third drink of water? Have you really already had a bad dream even though I just put you down five minutes ago and you haven't fallen asleep yet? There are plenty of times where either Ryan or I are out at night and one of us "gets out" of bedtime, but there's something fun about being off the hook together. There's some sort of comraderie in knowing all day that come 6:00 we will be free as birds:) This week I got a few "I'm so excited it's date night" texts from my hubby and it made me giddy all day knowing that we had that to look forward to together. We find so many other things to spend our money on, we finally decided that enough was enough and the amount we are paying Jenny is a small price to pay for having a night carved out for just the two of us every week. It's also great to just unplug from parenthood and recharge a little bit together and then come home ready to see those precious little faces waking us up the next morning. Ahhh, I'm already counting down to next Tuesday!

p.s. Did I mention that we came home to the house smelling of warm brownies right out of the oven? That's right, little miss Jenny bakes. She's a keeper!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Birthdays have a way of making me hugely sentimental...been thinking a lot about my biggest girl as she spends her last week being seven. I'm so incredibly proud of what a sweet, mature, loving and nurturing girl she has become. I want to remember her precious seven year old face forever!

{negative thoughts}

I've been taking it pretty "shallow" with my past few posts so I wanted to take a few minutes to deepen things up a bit. The topic for my detox study this week is negative thoughts. I am excited to dive in and learn more about dealing with those not so happy thoughts that all too often swirl through my head. Here's a little sneak peek from the study that I know my mind will be feasting on for the next few days:

"In the age of Gossip Girl and Desperate Housewives, we hear messages on a daily basis that warp our worldview to match that of society. Our thoughts become fixated on what the media tells us we should be or have, and we NEVER MEASURE UP. Whether we like it or not, these messages affect our lives. Whether it is seeing the body of the model in a magazine, wishing it were ours, or loathing whatever it is that keeps us from achieving it, we undermine any chance at contentment. We think that if we could just "make it" in life, then we will finally be at peace."

Sound familiar? To me, it sounds like my strive for perfection. My strive to measure up to both the model in the magazine and the pottery barn perfect house in the catalog with the crewcuts model kids. (But really, is that too much to ask for??;)) And the fact that stressing out over trying to be these things and not measuring up is enough to make me crazy! The truth is, this side of heaven, there is no perfect. I can try to achieve all of those things until my dying day and they will never be enough to bring me true contentment....and I will torture myself in the process! If it wasn't enough for Seal and Heidi or Brad and Jen.....chances are it probably won't be enough for me, either. My heart knows that true contentment can only be found in my savior....sometimes my mind just needs to catch up.

"You'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise not things to curse." Philippians 4:8 The Message

Sometimes as a woman, as a mom with little kids constantly underfoot, as a girl who looks in the mirror and suddenly realizes she has aged ten years overnight, as a girl with champagne taste on a beer budget, it's hard to keep true perspective. I'm thankful for this verse and this reminder to keep my focus on what is good and what is lovely....life is much much sweeter from that standpoint:)

All this and it's only day one. Can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings!

{birthday banner freebie}

andersruff.com has become one of my favorite go to sights for party planning ideas. check out this FREE printable banner that they are offering....i just whipped up two of them for emma's party in a matter of minutes (it didn't hurt that they offer it in two color schemes...both of which coordinated with her party perfectly)!! go ahead and see for yourself....they have lots of cute freebies to offer! and lots of not so freebies too;)

{spring sneak peek}

spring is in the air! it could be the fact that it's been warm and sunny this week...or the fact that i am going to the sunshine state next week....or just the fact that emma's birthday is coming up and i am clothes shopping for her....or maybe all of the above. but this i know: i've got spring clothes fever!!!! i despise winter clothes and i'm daydreaming about the bright colors and flowy styles just around the corner. yay for spring!!!!