"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Monday, June 29, 2015

Answer Me This! + a few pictures

Linking up with Kendra again!!

1. How long have you lived in your current home?


It'll be 5 years in September! So, for most of our marriage (been married for 6). We really do love the actual house itself, with all its quirks (it's old and has a couple additions), and we also love our location....but we don't have much of a yard. So if we ever move, it'll be for a bigger yard.

2. How do you find out about news and current events?


Logan or Facebook. Usually Logan since I'm not on FB as much as I used to be. I know I should watch the news but it's just too depressing for me.

3. Would you be able to make change for a twenty right now? For a dollar?

Yep and yep. We always have cash. Always. That's what happens when (1) you're married to a valet driver, and (2) you do the cash envelope system (which we've been doing for years now, even before Logan made tips).

4. What's the craziest food you've ever eaten?

Not bugs, I can tell you that. Yuck. We could have eaten some at the Insectarium in New Orleans but...no. Not our cup of tea. So! I guess I have to say squid (calamari). Is that even considered weird? I don't know. I've also eaten alligator but that's not very weird for someone who lives in Louisiana.

5. Which of the commonly removed parts have you had removed? (tonsils, wisdom teeth, appendix, etc.)

All 4 (impacted) wisdom teeth and it was the worst thing ever. Not kidding. I ended getting a hematoma in my gums after the surgery, so my mouth was still swollen and I started bleeding. I couldn't eat for several weeks until so I lost weight. But then I got pregnant with Landon so I guess it all worked out in the end. ;)

6. What's your favorite sport to watch on TV?

Hmmm, this is a toss-up. Because while obviously soccer is my favorite sport...it can be a little frustrating to just watch because it makes me want to play. And I tend to get emotionally involved.

I really, really enjoy watching football because it's the other main sport where I actually know all the rules and I don't have the desire to play. Aaaaand there are commercial breaks - unlike soccer - so you can do other things while watching. With soccer, you go to the bathroom and end up missing your team score. Ugh.

So, maybe I should just say professional football. Yeah. Let's go with that. Who dat!!

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 And now a few pictures because I haven't been sharing too many lately. We had a super fun week last week...waterpark and the zoo!
Y'all. This boy. I can't even.

He LOVES water
And at the zoo, Landon was totally loving the petting area!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Day in the Life

I've thought about doing one of these for awhile but never remember at the beginning of a day. So last week, when I thought about it during breakfast, I was all, yeahhh let's do it. I even took extra blurry iPhone pictures for you. So, you're welcome. This particular day was when Logan worked the evening shift.

Ok. Let's get to it! (And I should say I didn't put EVERY detail, like every diaper change or trip to the bathroom and every text message I responded to, etc. because this took too long to type as it was. But this was generally how our day went...and many days look very similar to this.)

6am: Chase wakes up fussing, so I bring him into bed with me to nurse him. He kinda falls back asleep, then wants to nurse again.

6:45: Lil boy is officially wide awake. Logan and I are too lazy to get up, so we hang out in bed and play with Chase.

7:30: I head downstairs with Chase while Logan checks on Landon (who will NOT sleep in a big bed yet...so crib it is still). I turn on the oven and get biscuits out of the freezer for breakfast. Feed the dog, let her outside, get Chase a bottle, fix my coffee, start a load of laundry. Logan comes downstairs with Landon and starts scrambling eggs while I put the biscuits in the oven.

8am: Sit down to eat. We often do big breakfasts since that's when Logan is home, as opposed to a big dinner...which is really nice because I LOVE breakfast.

8:30: I run upstairs to get dressed and somehow get sidetracked by decluttering my closet. Again. I'm determined to keep only things I love! Logan brings the boys upstairs so he can get dressed too.

9am: Logan leaves to run an errand. The boys are playing well, so I switch the laundry to the dryer, put away breakfast dishes, and get carrot soup out of the freezer to eat later. I do a little general straightening up and then sit down with the boys to play with them for a few minutes (I'm trying to be better about this!!).

10am: Chase is ready for his nap a little early, so I head upstairs to put him down while Landon is engrossed in a puzzle. I come downstairs and clean up a little bit more so I can vacuum the front of the house.

10:30: Logan gets home so we talk while I mop. Landon "helps" me mop when I'm done.

11am: I realized earlier that our library books were due that day, so I get Landon and myself ready and head out to the library.


12pm: Landon and I get home to find Chase is up from his nap, and Logan is playing with our Silhouette Cameo, crafting it up (as he is known to do). I heat up the carrot soup and give Chase a bottle. We all sit down to eat and talk.

1pm: Logan goes into the garage to exercise. The nice librarian lady had given us a craft activity during our visit, so I set Landon up with that. Chase is playing well (good babies are such a blessing!!), so I straighten up some more so I can vacuum and mop the back of the house. Our house is 2200 square feet so it takes me awhile to clean the floors. Thankfully I vacuumed the upstairs carpet a few days earlier!


1:30: Logan comes inside to shower and get ready for work. Chase is getting fussy since it's close to his second nap, and Landon keeps asking to watch a movie, so I sit down to occupy them until Logan leaves (I tell Landon he can watch a movie once Daddy leaves for work. It works.). I may or may not have been playing on my phone too during this time...

2pm: Put on a movie for Landon and I head upstairs to put Chase down for a nap again. I start my rosary while I rock him to sleep and then walk back downstairs to finish praying the rest. (I really strive to have quiet afternoons like I explained in this post.)

2:30: I pause Landon's movie to get him to potty so I can jump in the shower quickly. Of course this turns into a marathon because he ends up having to poop right after washing his hands the first time...and I also got distracted by opening my laptop to publish a post *real quick* (HA) and looking at other stuff online and texting friends at the same time. I finally put Landon's movie back on and shower.

3pm: Chase is still napping (yay!) so I get snacks for Landon and myself. I plop myself down right next to him on the loveseat and spend time writing, internet surfing, and reading. It's lovely. I resist the temptation to make coffee.

4:15: Landon plays after his movie is over. I'm reading Kristin Lavransdatter.

4:30: Chase is up!
I sit to cuddle with him in recliner, and of course Landon wants to join us. So all 3 of us are chilling in the recliner, having a nice old time...

I was trying to take a picture of Chase because he was being so stinking' cute....and then Landon decides to kick him. Not sure if it was on purpose or on accident.

But somebody wasn't happy. My poor baby. (You see the toddler foot?! Sigh.) I fix a sippy cup for him instead of a bottle (since I'm starting to slooowly wean him from the bottle) and then start making smoothies for Landon and me. I'm interrupted by poop (not mine!). Get that situation cleared up, finish the smoothies...and I spill half of mine. So I make more.

Landon trips and almost spills his smoothie. We are heading down a not-so-good path here.

5:15: I sit down to drink my smoothie while the boys play. What do you know...another poop interruption. Lots of poop. I'm done with poop. I'll spare you the details. (I knew the day was going too well!!)

5:30: Put Chase in high chair with a sliced banana, feed Marley who is making me crazy, and I sit down again to finish my smoothie....but Landon wants to eat. So I heat up dinner - I keep it simple with this (which is cheaper at Costco FYI and it's yummy and meatless, perfect for Fridays) along with crackers for dipping - and finally sit down to eat with Landon.

Nevermind. Chase is done his banana, so I put him in the play room which is right next to the kitchen. I'm suddenly very tired and wishing I had indulged in that afternoon cup of coffee.

6pm: I wish I was kidding when I say this, but...more poop. I will finish dinner at some point. Thankfully, Landon took it upon himself to give Chase a toy and himself a puzzle so they're happy. Praise the Lord. I sit to eat again and try to read while Marley is barking at a dog in the street.


7pm: I give Chase his last bottle and then start to wash dishes while Landon and Marley partake in their nightly "get all the crazies out" routine. Landon is riding a toy truck, chasing Marley, who is running all over the house. There's barking and yelling. Chase just watches while playing underneath the kitchen table (his favorite hangout these days).

7:20: I have Landon start to clean the playroom while I let Marley outside. I help Landon finish up, and then we head into the living room to change into pajamas and read a book.

7:50: Head upstairs. Landon potties and brushes his teeth. Put him in bed, say a prayer, and kiss him good night.

8pm: One down, one to go. I rock Chase while doing a little prayer time. So many special intentions!

8:20: Chase appears to be sleeping, so I put him in his bed, and juuuust when I think I'm in the clear...his eyes pop open and he rips the pacifier out of his mouth. Dang. Guess his 2 good naps is pushing back bedtime. Back to the rocking chair.

8:30: Chase is finally sleeping. I go downstairs to let Marley back in and get a bowl of strawberries to snack on. What to do, what to do? The possibilities are endless! ;)

I decide to write a little, then fall victim to the Internet Time Suck. Ugh.

10:00: Finally decide I should put my laptop away and go upstairs. I might have checked a few more things online between getting ready for bed and all.

10:45: Get in bed to read a little more.

11:00: Realize I'm falling asleep so I put the book away and go to sleep. (Logan doesn't get home until midnight or so.)

Whew, that was longer than I was expecting. Sorry! You must really love me if you made it this far. :)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Defeating the I.T.S.

I've really been trying to be better lately about housework and maintaining a somewhat clean home...without neglecting my children. Because they're the most important. Some days I just really have my act together, staying on top of laundry and dishes, and even managing to do a little deep cleaning and maybe a fun project - in addition to actually sitting down with my boys to play with them or read books.

Then other days, I feel like I'm drowning and haven't done a single thing to keep the house in decent shape. And my kids are whiny and seem to need me at every moment. What gives?

Well. I have discovered the main culprit.

My BFF, MacBook Air

I recently gave myself a rule to not pop this baby open until after lunch. Because as soon as I do open my laptop, I enter what I like to call ITS. Internet Time Suck. It doesn't matter if I was just going to pay a bill *real quick* or do a google search for a minute. I end up checking my email, reading blogs, looking at Facebook, etc. I have the intention of spending 2 minutes on the computer and it turns into 20.

Seriously. There's no such thing as checking something online "real quick". I will inevitably become a victim to the ITS. And it has to stop.

Now that I'm fully aware of this - as well as the fact that life is SO MUCH BETTER if I keep my mornings screen-free - I'm more motivated to get other things done sooner rather later. And who doesn't love to have an empty sink and dishwasher, clean counters, and a clean load of laundry done (maybe not folded yet, but it's something)...all before 10am?

The thing that really clinched it for me was when I found myself fussing at Landon for trying to talk to me while I was catching up on my blog reading. At 9am. He just wanted my attention, but instead of actually listening to him, all I was doing was looking at my dang computer and then fussing him for interrupting me! So crazy. So now I'm putting my laptop away until the later in the day when I've given him some attention and have done other important things like housework. Because a happy toddler and a clean house means a happy momma.

Then I have the afternoon to do all my fave stuff like reading, writing, and whatever. It's lovely. Plus I can usually doing fun things with my kids when they're not napping.

And I just have to say that setting a timer is a great motivator to get.things.done. Exhibit A:


Cringe. But 5 minutes later....

Heck yeah. Thanks to my friend Ashley for wanting to hold each other accountable! :)

I should say that there about a million times where I'm tempted to open my laptop in the morning (please tell me I'm not the only one?) but I fight that urge to the death. And I end up so glad I did! It's the same thing with praying the rosary....I think of a million things I want to do first but really the rosary is more important, obviously. And if I don't take advantage of praying at the first opportunity, another one might not come. (Trust me on this!)

Also, in full disclosure, I have to admit I do check my phone here and there, mostly when I sit down to eat. But I'm much less likely to succumb to the ITS on my phone than my laptop, since I don't have the Facebook app anymore and I just rather using a keyboard to do my random google searches.

Okay, I hope I haven't bored you to death with my life epiphanies and crazy ramblings. Til next time...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The men in my life...Answer Me This!

Father's Day edition of Answer Me This! Click over to Catholic All Year afterwards to read everybody else's answers! I really enjoyed doing that last week.

1. What's the best thing about your dad?


He's so funny! Like really. He can always make me laugh. He's really smart too...but I guess that makes two things.

Thanks to Photography by Louis (my awesome wedding photographer) for this gem

2. If you've got kids, what's the best thing about THEIR dad?


Logan plays SO well with our boys. I love watching them!
That's Landon as a baby...not Chase
And I'm realizing now that maybe this question didn't intend to be answered specifically relating to our kids. So maybe I should say that the best thing about Logan is that he makes life FUN. There is never a dull moment with this man! Seriously. He's a walking party and has really helped me loosen up over the years!
I'm having way too much fun looking at our wedding pictures!



3. What's the best advice your dad ever gave you?


"Just walk away." Kidding. Although he did tell me that a few days ago when Logan and I looked at a minivan and the sales people wouldn't go low enough on the price!

Okay, seriously...my dad has given me lots of advice because I ask his opinion on everything - so it's hard to just say one thing. So let's just say he is really good at reminding me to focus on the important things in life and to not let certain things get to me. (I told you he's smart.)


4. What's something you have in common with your dad?


We both have the tendency to tell it like it is. So don't ask us something if you don't want to know how we really feel ;) (and that's exactly why I ask his opinion on everything!)
Ah! Can't believe this was almost a year ago!!


5. What's the manliest thing you know how to do?


I wish I could say I knew how to change the oil in my car or something, but I think I have to stick with handling a drill.


6. Who is your favorite fictional dad?


For some reason the first that popped into my head is Steve Carell's character, Dan, in the movie "Dan in Real Life". He's just so funny without intending to be and he really just wants the best for his daughters! I love that movie.

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Happy Father's Day!! Remember to say a prayer for all those who don't have their dads with them anymore, and for those who really want to be fathers themselves.

Friday, June 19, 2015

7 things I learned from playing soccer

In case you haven't heard, the Women's World Cup is happening this summer. I may or may not have considered getting cable for a couple months because of it. #confessions

Since I grew up playing soccer - and actually played in various co-ed leagues in my adult life, even after Landon was born - watching the USA women's games got me thinking about how great of a sport soccer is and how much I've learned from it.

I tell myself that I won't be the parent that forces her kids to play soccer just because it was my favorite...but I'm really, really hoping at least one of my boys ends up loving the game as much as I do. Only time will tell. And maybe they will learn the same things I did:



Stamina and skill
45 minutes of running around. Twice. So that requires A LOT of training and conditioning to be able to last through a 90 minute game...not to mention the whole dribbling a ball at the same time. Soccer is not for the faint of heart, y'all. What doesn't kill you really does make you stronger! (And MAN, too bad I'm not in that kind of shape anymore...)


Teamwork
Maybe this one's obvious. While I definitely also did individual sports like cross-country, there's just something special about team sports. You learn to work together with other people towards a common goal.

Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes a teammate dribbles the ball too much. Sometimes you let your team down when you miss the penalty kick. But no matter what, you learn how important it is to be a part of a team and stick together, and that is something I think everyone should experience.


Communication
This goes along with teamwork, because you can't be a team without communicating. I think it's safe to say that the best teams aren't necessarily the ones with the most skill...it's the ones with the best communication. It's hard to tell when you're just watching a game on TV, but soccer isn't just running around. You're constantly talking to and communicating with your teammates.

Just think how the best relationships in your life are the ones where you communicate your feelings to each other. Nothing good ever comes from keeping things to yourself. (Ask me how I know! Ha.)


People underestimate short people.
And they totally shouldn't.


Sometimes you have to look at the funny side of things.
I think one of my funniest soccer moments ever was during a high school game when we weren't playing a very good team. But they did have this one crazy tall girl - like seriously, over 6 feet tall and not exactly skinny, so she was a bit intimidating - and I guess her coach told her to mark me no matter what.

So just imagine me, 5 feet tall (maybe) with shoes on, with this MUCH taller girl following me around. That's not even the funny part. I started running around in circles because I thought it was stupid she was following me (I can be a smart ass sometimes, I'll admit), and that tall girl hollered after me, "I'LL FOLLOW YOU TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH!!" I could have been scared...or I could have laughed. Just guess what I did.

Soccer is fun. Seriously.


Restraint
Soccer tended to bring out my aggressive side. (And I should clarify that being aggressive while playing soccer is not the same thing as playing dirty.) So when an opponent would shove/trip/elbow me in the face, it took a lot of willpower to not punch her back. But I restrained, because, well, punching is against the rules. And that was good practice for when I need to restrain myself in other ways...like not going hostile on the guy who cut me off on the interstate.

But let's be honest. I wasn't always good at this one. (Like the time I yelled at a referee. Not my finest moment.)


Redemption can happen anywhere.
During the championship game of a tournament, I had the chance to score the winning goal. The ball came right to me, right in front of the goal...and I completely missed it. It wasn't like I kicked the ball straight to the goalie or I kicked it out of bounds. No, my foot completely missed the ball. It was humiliating. I can still hear the crowd: Awwwwww!!

But then a teammate came out of nowhere, charging up to the ball that I missed, and she nailed that sucker into the back of the net. Goal! We won the tournament. What could have been an embarrassing moment (well, it was still embarrassing) turned into a redemptive experience. Yes, I fail sometimes (okay...a lot of times), but there's still a chance for redemption.

It's a great connection to sin and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. At least I think so! (Or maybe I'm just stretching it. My bad.)

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Okay, 3 link-ups in one week....personal record for me. Go see Kelly to check out more quick takes! And Go Team USA!! They play again on Monday :)

p.s. I remembered after writing this that Kendra wrote this post last year during the men's World Cup.  You should totally read it. It's hilarious.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Words from Elisabeth Elliot (5Faves)

I used to write down quotes A LOT (okay...I still do). If I was reading a book and liked something, I would either write it down or add it to my "quotes" Word document. *nerd alert* 

So when I found out that Elisabeth Elliot died on Monday, I was a little sad because I read a couple of her books in high school and was inspired by her story. And I had quite a few of her words in my quotes collection. (I can't believe I just said "quotes collection". Please don't die of boredom.)

Here are my 5 favorite quotes by Elisabeth Elliot:

1. "God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will, a will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to."

2. "I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God."

3. "We want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive his poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others."

4. "Either we are adrift in chaos or we are individuals, created, loved, upheld and placed purposefully, exactly where we are. Can you believe that?"

5. "The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it’s going to be a lot better and a lot bigger." (LOVE this one)

Go see Jenna for more 5Faves!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Answer Me This and my new favorite show on Netflix

I'm pretty excited that Kendra is bringing back Answer Me This for the summer. It brings me back to last summer when I was so very pregnant and trying not to go into labor watching the men's World Cup games. Soccer is the best, y'all.

1. Any big plans for the summer?

Yes!! Watching the women's World Cup, baby. That's pretty much all our excitement in June now that Landon's birthday and our anniversary has passed, but July will be pretty crazy/fun/full. We're having a joint birthday party for Landon and Chase, Logan and I are attending our 10-year high school reunion, and we're going on a little vacation with my parents, siblings and their families. It's also my birthday month! Chase's too, and I can't believe the little guy will be a year old. *sigh*

Oh! We're also going to the beach with friends in August. :) These friends:
Plus another family of 5 who left before we took this picture last year. Plus a baby that has exited the womb since then and another one in the womb (not mine, just saying)! Gotta love Catholic families.

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

Honestly, the only thing I can think of is that a big giant bunny delivered Easter eggs in our backyard.  But I feel silly saying that since a lot of people do the whole bunny thing (which is totally fine. We just do the Easter egg hunts and leave the bunny out of it.) I still have vivid memories as a kid of waiting for one of those department store Easter bunnies to hop through our backyard. 


3. What is your favorite amusement park ride? (can be a specific one at a specific park or just a type of ride)

Rollercoasters! That's why Logan and I went to Busch Gardens for our honeymoon. Maybe that's lame but...oh well. We went to the beach too.


4. What's on your summer reading list?

Kristin Lavransdatter! Seriously, this book [trilogy] has been talked up so much by Catholic bloggers that it better deliver. IT BETTER. I'm only on page 74 so far (out of 1124! yikes) and have to say I like it so far.

I'm also trying to finish a fiction trilogy by Francine Rivers, Mark of the Lion. But I'm only on Book One still so that probably won't happen. And I really don't read much fiction to begin with and I feel like I reached my fiction limit for the year already...so I'm not sure how this fiction-filled summer will go. Wish me luck.


5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public?

Yep. Not on purpose, though. I've fallen asleep in mass (oops) and even during a Christian concert as a kid. In the front row. I went to see Jaci Velasquez, who was my fave at the time, but Clay Crosse was the headliner and I didn't know any of his songs so...snooze.


6. What is your favorite smell?

COFFEE. And lots and lots of it. I love the taste too, of course.

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And now for some randomness...

I really haven't been watching TV too much lately, but my SIL told me about the show "When Calls the Heart" on Netflix and I'm loving it. You will too if you like 19th century stuff. I loooooove Elizabeth Thatcher's dresses. (The show is based on Janette Oke's book series)

Also, Logan and I saw Jurassic World on our anniversary and it was pretty awesome. I love Chris Pratt.

A couple of links I loved this week:

If you're into podcasts, I'm LOVING the new Little House Mothering one. 

Go check out Kendra's answers (and the links she shared, I loved them both) and everyone else's posts!

Friday, June 12, 2015

What you're actually saying "yes" to

It was 6 years ago today that Logan and I held hands and vowed to love each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. And I knew that day that those words were SO important, and I meant them with all my heart. I even knew that there would probably be a lot of bad times, and I still said yes to a life with Logan.

But damn...I didn't exactly realize what I was saying yes to!

There was a point in our marriage, probably a couple years in, that I honestly didn't know if I would have still gotten married if I knew ahead of time everything that Logan and I would have to deal with as a couple.

So many things can happen - pregnancy loss, job loss, infertility, infidelity, death of a spouse, death of a child, financial struggles, difficult family relationships, the list goes on and on. Yes, we can go through the best marital preparation program on the planet, but nothing - NOTHING - can adequately prepare us for what's to come.

{Side note: The couple we met with for marriage prep used to tell us that we would be teaching marriage prep one day. And that makes me LOL every time I think about it. Because, um, Logan and I are 100% a work in progress. That just goes to show you don't know what you're getting into!}

I used to think, in my days of discerning my vocation, that once I decided whether God was calling me to the religious life or married life (since those were the two I felt drawn to, but there's single life too!), everything would be fine. I would be able to handle whatever because at least I would know I was where I needed to be.

[insert laughter here]

[insert more laughter]

Right.

God changed that mindset REALLY quickly as I held my stillborn son 6 months into marriage.

I can honestly say though, 6 years into this marriage gig, that I wouldn't trade it for anything. This life with Logan, full of ups and downs, is the life that will hopefully get me to Heaven. It's refining me, day by day, year by year. Looking back I see that now.

One of my very dear friends delivered her miscarried baby boy this morning. Another of my good friends experienced the same thing with her twins last summer. It's moments like these that I'm shaken to the core and wonder WHY THE HECK we have to experience such tragedies.

What people don't talk about at a wedding is that you're not only saying "yes" to a life full of love - you're also saying "yes" to heartbreak and loss. Life isn't perfect.

But I also know that God carries us through the bad times, and it's also because of those bad times that we cherish the good times. And the beauty of marriage is that you have someone to experience all of that with, and I know from experience that you can choose to let those bad times tear you apart...or bring you closer together. I choose the latter.

Happy anniversary, babe! I love you more than ever.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My godson, being spiritual mothers, and maybe a (tiny) photo dump

I lived with my brother and his wife for an entire year before I got married, so I had the privilege of seeing this cute little face every day for his entire first year of life (he was born right after I moved in):
Max was probably a big part of why Logan and I were so ready to have kids as soon as we were married. And now, as of Saturday....
...he's SEVEN YEARS OLD.

This was initially going to be a photo dump post of our fun weekend (Landon and Max have birthdays one day apart) but then I got thinking about the little boy who prepared me to be a mother before I actually became one...

I can't help but think how blessed I am to have become a godmother before I became a biological mother (a foster mother too, actually!). Because it gave me a glimpse into motherhood, not only in the physical sense of changing diapers and all, but also in a spiritual and emotional sense (although having experience with diapers and colic certainly helped!).

Not only did I see firsthand the struggles that parents deal with, I also saw the joy that comes with welcoming a little baby into the world. And I'm so grateful to my brother and sister-in-law for letting me witness all of it.

Women - whether they have their own kids or not - can play such an important role in any kid's life. Heck, some of Landon's favorite people in the world are my friends who don't have children. 
Back when I was Max's favorite ;)
After getting so close to Max, I used to think how I couldn't believe how much I loved him - it was really hard to imagine that I would love my own kids even more. Because I loved him like my own (still do!). 

That just goes to show what women are capable of - loving kids that aren't even ours. Being a foster parent showed me that too. And I wish people talked more about that...that all women were created to be mothers, regardless of whether or not they actually (or will ever) have children. Just look at Blessed Mother Teresa - she was no doubt a spiritual mother to many.

I don't really know where I'm going with this, but...I guess I want to just encourage all mothers to foster relationships with the women in their life who are single or married without kids. Invite them over. Ask them to be godmother. Don't just assume they won't want to be around the craziness of life with little kids! Chances are they actually love it. And they want to babysit. I know I did.

Regardless of if those women are called to have kids of their own or not, being around you and your kids - and seeing how you give of yourself - will profoundly affect how they view their vocation. They will see the importance of being a spiritual mother, they will see how dang hard but rewarding it can be to raise little ones...and they'll probably teach you a little something in the process.

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Okay, still going to photo dump! Feel free to click away now if you don't want to see what we did this weekend ;)
 I still can't believe he's 3!!
 These two could just run in circles all day, chasing each other, and be the happiest kids ever
 Mmm..beignets.


 Cousins are the best!
I bet my parents never imagined that 28 years after having twin girls, they would get to hold their twin granddaughters! God is funny. But awesome.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The baby I wouldn't have

Disclaimer: I kind of spoil one of the [minor] character lines in the fictional book, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. It actually doesn't have anything to do with the main plot - civil rights - but there is an element of surprise. So if you haven't read the book and plan to, and don't want to know why a certain character is the way she is before the author reveals it…don't read this post. Or just read it and don't get mad at me if you decide to read the book. :)

In the book The Help, which takes place in the 1960s, there is a character - a woman - who acts really strange...staying in bed a lot, not wanting to do any work, etc. She's actually kind of strange in general but that doesn't have anything to do with the point I want to make.

About halfway through the book (SPOILER ALERT!!!), her maid finds her in the bathroom. The woman looks pale and there's a lot of blood in the toilet...as well as something else. It turns out to be her baby. After the maid asks how far along she was, the woman guesses she was around 5 months pregnant.

She also admits that this was the fourth time it happened. Four babies lost. So heart-breaking. Especially when she said she thought hiring a maid would help her keep this baby since she wouldn't have to clean or cook anymore.

Although they never say it, I'm guessing she lost her babies because she had an incompetent cervix.

Even though I tend to be naturally minded, I am SO thankful for modern medicine. Because without it, I probably wouldn't have this boy:


After I lost Levi, the doctors weren't sure exactly what happened, but they had some theories - one being an incompetent cervix. So when I got pregnant with Landon, my doctor said that he might put in a cerclage (a stitch to hold my cervix closed), but he kind of wanted to wait and see if I really needed one. I saw a high-risk doctor too and she did frequent ultrasounds to check my cervix.

Well. When I was 11 weeks pregnant, an ultrasound showed that my cervix was starting to open so I was put on strict bedrest. Like, no getting up except to use the bathroom. (Which is not fun, in case you were wondering.) So my doctor put in a cerclage at 13 weeks - they wait until the second trimester when the baby is fully formed and the chances of miscarriage go down.

Things seemed to go well after that until I hit 22 weeks, which is the same point I lost Levi. My cervix was starting to open AGAIN. With a cerclage, there are 2 stitches placed, and one of my stitches had already popped because of my cervix dilating. But thankfully, the second stitch kept my cervix from dilating anymore (which is why they put 2 stitches in!).

I can't help but think about what would have happened without that life-saving cerclage. And to think about losing another baby in the same way as Levi still terrifies me to this day. 

Cerclages weren't introduced until the late 1950s, so they probably weren't common practice just yet during the time The Help took place. So if I lived during that time or earlier, I probably would have been just like the character in the book - unable to carry a child to term. And that's just so crazy to me.

This boy turns 3 years old today. Without modern medicine, he's the baby I wouldn't have. The strong-willed but goofy little boy that both drives me crazy and makes my heart melt on a daily basis. He is just like his daddy...which can be kind of annoying but is also pretty cute. :)

Thanks to ultrasounds, a cerclage, and medicine to keep the contractions at bay, I have him with me every single day. And I don't for one second take that for granted.

Happy birthday, Landon! We love you!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

5 favorite things about The Honest Co. (that you probably didn't know)

I'm a big fan of the Honest Company and their products. Big fan. And after group texting with some friends about it, I realized that there are some things that a lot of people don't know! So let me share 5 favorite things that I love about the Honest Company...

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. I just love Honest Co. But I will include my personal invite link at the end of this post in case you want to sign up for their online bundles. Because then I get credit. And that would make me happy. But more about that later!

1) Their products are cheaper when you enroll in the online bundle.

Target has some of their products in stores, but not all. I'm enrolled in their Essentials bundle (which is both personal care and cleaning products) through Honest's website,  so I get 5 products for $35.95. You can also get an additional 3 products for for 25% off - which I definitely do every time I order, because shipping is free once you spend $50. I'm a math person, so I make sure I spend just above $50 (my total is normally $51-52. Once it was $50.09!). So that means I get 8 products for about $6.50 each. Many of those products retail for $9.95-$13.95. Some retail for $4.95-$5.95…but you're still getting a better deal overall.

There is one exception to this - the shampoo + body wash is the cheapest at Costco. 2 big ol' bottles for $15 (and it was on sale for cheaper last month!!). That's the only Honest Company product I've seen at Costco, though.

2) You don't have to order every month.

Most people don't know this! They just assume it's a monthly subscription. You can set your bundle to ship every 4, 5, or 6 weeks if you want.... but you can also keep pushing back the ship date. I tend to push back the ship date until I know I need 8 products - that way I can get free shipping. They send you an email 2-3 days before your order will ship so you just need to make sure and push back the date if you're not ready for another order.

3) They're constantly improving their products, as well as adding new ones.

That really says something about a company - improving current products means they're listening to feedback. And I do a little happy dance every time I notice a new product that I'm interested in! Today I saw they added facial cleansing towelettes, so I'm totally ordering them with my next bundle.

4) They came out with a baby formula this year.

Breast is best, of course. And The Honest Company knows that! But for some people who still have to supplement (*raises hand*) or chooses to (which is okay, too!), it's really nice to have an option that isn't full of sugar and other harmful ingredients.

This was really a God thing, because TWO DAYS after I made the realization that the formula Chase was currently getting had the main ingredient of glucose syrup solids - which is a fancy term for, um, sugar - I got an email from Honest Co introducing their new formula. Which was perfect because I had already looked into other formulas but couldn't find one that wasn't organic and non-GMO. (Side note: glucose syrup solids is actually in every formula that I've seen, which is a bummer, but at least it's organic in the Honest brand and it's not the main ingredient.)

Chase loves the formula, which is important, and I also love how signing up for their online formula bundle means it is shipped straight to my door!

I should mention that it's probably double the cost of the formula I was buying, but I figured we only had 4 more months of buying formula. Plus, there was just no way I could continue giving Chase any other formula in good conscience! His health is priority, so we made it work with our budget.

5) They have great customer service. 

If you do sign up for an online bundle, the only way to cancel it is to call. Some people might not like that, but really, it was easy and painless. I just had to cancel Chase's formula bundle, since we have enough to last until his first birthday, and it literally took one minute. I was barely on hold before an employee answered and cancelled my bundle within seconds. She was super nice.

I also did the whole live chat thing today too, which is really convenient, and that person was nice too!

AND I also sent them an email just to make sure it was okay that I was doing this little post on this little blog of mine - and they responded within 30 minutes! I'm an even bigger fan now.

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I could probably do a completely different post about my favorite products, but there are many! So feel free to ask me about a certain product and I'll let you know if I've tried it yet.

If you want to sign up for a bundle, please consider using my personal invite link! Click here to do so. I rarely use affiliate links on my blog (can't remember the last time, honestly), so I'd appreciate it if you use this one! Every little bit helps :)

Go see Jenna for more 5Faves!

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