Thursday, June 24, 2010

In a bubble....

Sorry I have been so lazy about posting lately. I feel like I've been in a bubble for about a week and have so much I want to write, but haven't taken the time to sit down and do it.

Some super exciting things going on:
1. I attended my first birth as a doula last Saturday. It was the most incredible experience and I can't wait to tell you guys about it! I am working on making a separate blog for my doula stuff so I can keep this one about our family and my personal stuff, but I promise it will be up soon!

2. My best friend is in labor RIGHT NOW!!! Im so excited I can barely contain myself!

3. We have been enjoying this gorgeous summer weather and I have some really fun sprinkler pictures to show you!

4. This weekend we are busy with lots of fun. Tomorrow Justin and I are headed to the Royals game to watch them take on the Cardinals! We LOVE to go to baseball games together and we're super excited to see them play St. Louis. GO ROYALS! Then tomorrow we have a wedding of one of Justin's high school friends. I won't really know anyone there, but that's okay - it should be fun anyway... I hear there's going to be a great DJ (*wink*, Molly).

I hope everyone has a super fantastic weekend and I will try to get some posts rolling on here!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


See this sweet face??

It's not so sweet after 3 hours of trying to get her to stay in her bed. Bedtime has become a complete NIGHTMARE! I put her to bed last night at 8:00 and she finally stayed in her room and went to sleep at 11. I don't know what to do.

Our days are a tad chaotic with up to 5 children here at a time and the evenings are my down time. I don't deal well with Chloe when she gets up out of her bed no less than 20 times. I feel like a horrible mom because while I try to be patient, it's REALLY hard and sometimes I fail miserably. I yell, I scream, I grab her arm too tightly. It's just a bad situation. So, I'm calling out to the troops.

Here are the things we've tried:
  • Being really nice and putting her back to bed quickly and without talking (think Nanny 911)
  • Yelling REALLY loudly
  • Bribery (oh no, I'm not beyond bribing this child!) -- candy for breakfast, a trip to the pool, WHATEVER you want!!!
  • Telling her to just stay in her room. She can leave the light on, play, do whatever into the wee hours of the morning if she likes, but she can not come out of her room.
I do realize that this phase will pass, and that I'm going to miss this later. I get that, really I do. But seriously, for everyone's safety and sanity - this HAS to get better!!

If you have other suggestions or some encouragement, send it my way!!

Please -- somebody, anybody, help a mommy out!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Warning: Long, vulnerable, scary (for me) post ahead!

Justin and I are coming up on our 5 year anniversary. For some reason, as we come up on 5 years of marriage, I have been thinking a lot lately about our journey together so far - the ups, the downs, and how incredible our God is. This post is going to be super honest and vulnerable, but I feel like it's something I need to write.

Justin and I dated in high school (I was a junior, he was a senior). We didn't go to the same high school, but we did go to the same church. We weren't really "friends", but we were in the same small group at youth and flirted quite a bit -- kicked each other under the table, made googly eyes, you know ;) The summer before my junior year we went on a mission trip with our youth group to Montana. I honestly can still remember the day we were signing up and he asked me if I was going. I told him yes and he said he was going also. I remember my heart going all aflutter and thinking this was going to be the best mission trip ever. My priorities were obviously in line!

We went on the mission trip and had so much fun together! I will admit that he had a girlfriend back home, but neither of us really seemed to care (bad, I know). We spent tons of time together: talking, playing games, working, laughing. Everyone on the trip knew we liked each other - it was obvious. When we got back he broke up with his girlfriend and we were "together" the next day.
Since we lived in separate towns we mainly only saw each other on the weekends. We talked online into the wee hours of the night and sometimes talked on the phone.

Our relationship hit a roadblock when he kissed another girl at his school. I was devastated and he, in true high school boy fashion, could have really cared less that he hurt me so badly. About 3 months later, in true high school relationship fashion, we were back together.

Here's where my reflection has become one of thanking God for his amazing Grace, Mercy, and Love. Our relationship after we got back together was incredibly unhealthy. We fought a lot. I was super insecure because he "cheated" on me, he was into drinking and just being a typical high school boy.

We became sexually active that summer.

The implications of that choice still affect me occasionally today. Oh, how I wish I had listened to the adults that loved me and really understood (or cared about) what they were trying to tell me.

After that summer Justin went away to college. We continued to fight all the time. I was so mad at us for not living how we were suppose to, bitter at him for "talking me into it", upset that he was away at college and I only saw him occasionally, I constantly thought he was cheating on me. I was so painfully insecure and unsure of who I really was. We most often fought because I felt like he wasn't the Christian he was suppose to be. Honestly, at that time, I don't think he was ready or even cared and I wish now that I would have known it was never my place to try to make him into something he wasn't or that I was strong enough, secure enough in myself to break it off with him.

When I went off to college (a different college than Justin about 3 hours away), the vicious cycle continued. More arguing, more guilt, more name slinging.

I would go to church every week and "talk the talk", but in the back of my mind I always had the guilt and pain of knowing I was totally not "walking the walk". All my friends were super-Christians and I had no one to talk to (or that's how I felt). It was a really really hard time in my life. I would go back and forth about breaking up with him or staying together. Again, I was just too insecure, too emotionally (and physically) invested and I couldn't walk away.

Please know that Justin was never this "evil" being that it may sound like. In fact, he was much more patient, loving and kind to me than I ever was to him. I would scream and yell and he would take all of it and still love me (or what we thought was love) and still want to date me.

Finally I just decided that maybe if we got married things would get better. We could have sex without the guilt, I would be with him all the time rather than having to commute every other weekend, and we would *really* love each other. We talked about marriage a lot and decided we were ready.

Justin proposed to me on Christmas Eve 2004. It was the sweetest, cutest thing in the world. All our family was there. It was perfect. I was so excited to be married, so ready to finally be in the same town, and ready to spend my life with him as his wife. Wedding planning was so fun for me.

I will be honest though, in the back of my mind I continued to wonder if getting married to Justin was right. Even walking down the aisle I had doubts in my mind. I was super excited to be married, but I was also scared we may be making a big mistake.

Our first 2 years of marriage were *really* hard. Things happened that put us into counseling and almost caused me to walk away. We were so distant and bitter with each other. I would be mad because he wasn't the super-Christian-husband he was suppose to be and he would be mad because all I did was scream and yell and put him down all the time. It was just a continuation of our dating life except now we lived in the same house. When I finally hit a breaking point and wanted out, I was pregnant with Chloe. Had I not been pregnant, I'm not sure we would still be married. Chloe saved me from walking out the door, counseling saved our marriage.

(side note: this picture totally makes me laugh because it was right after Chloe was born. I was at my fattest and Justin was at his skinniest. lol!)

When we were able to sit in the counseling office and spill it all is when we finally had a breakthrough and could start truly loving each other. I was able to realize that Justin's relationship with God was between Justin and God. I could nag and whine and yell all I wanted, but that wasn't going to change Justin's heart. All I could do as a wife was to love and support him. As a Christian I could continue to try and live the way God wanted and let that be what reflected Christ to Justin (rather than my hateful words).

The interesting thing is that through all of this, I think Justin has truly been a better Christian than I ever have. He is so patient and loving. He doesn't yell or put me down. He really, truly loves me and shows me that constantly. He speaks encouragement into me and supports anything I ever want to do. Although he didn't read his bible as much I thought he should (this was a MAJOR fight), I think he really grasped what Jesus is all about far before I really did.

A little over a year ago we began going to Desperation Church. Through the sermons there, the people, the authenticity, the worship music, the love, Justin and I have grown leaps and bounds in our walk with the Lord and our walk together.

Justin's heart astounds me more and more every day. He is so loving and kind. His whole outlook on life has completely changed in the past couple of years. He's accepting of others where in the past he wouldn't have been. He's open to allowing God to make decisions in our life that might be painful or weird. He loves and wants to serve others. God has worked amazing things in his heart and in his life.

After 5 years, I can honestly, 100% say that I am so honored to be Justin's wife. I don't know if we were "suppose" to get married or not, but God has worked an incredible miracle in our lives and in our marriage. I love Justin more now than I ever thought possible. I adore being his wife and sharing this life with him. I often like him a lot more than I even like myself. It's funny, at the beginning of our marriage I was so bitter and angry that he wasn't the spiritual leader in our house and now I can't imagine wanting to "follow" anyone else. Tears are streaming down my face as I write this because God has been so good to us. His grace, mercy, and love are so evident in my marriage.

I can't even explain how thankful I am to our Lord and how much I truly believe that He is working in our lives if we will just let Him. My marriage is a true testament to God's good purposes for our lives.

Friday, June 4, 2010

My girl knows how to guzzle!

Chloe drinks like a sailor. Okay, I know the phrase is "curses like a sailor", but I would assume that if sailors curse they must drink too, right? :) Anyway...since Chloe was born she has always guzzled her drinks at the speed of light. In fact, people often comment on how quickly she finishes her drinks.
Should I be concerned for the teenage years?? ;)

Blog Revamp

I have been doing some housekeeping around here. Well, on my blog that is...not so much in my real house! I decided this little blog needed a new look. I wanted it to look a little more "professional", I guess. I actually did a few things to the HTML, which I totally have no idea what that even means - lol, but it changed some things that I wasn't wild about that blogger kind of "makes" you have (such as the nav bar at the top). I also made a signature, which I'm loving. I have kind of changed the feeling of my blog several times since I've started, but I like where it's going now. I really just want to write about whatever I want and not be tied down by a certain "theme". I enjoy doing posts about our adventures as a family, but I also like doing some more serious topics as well. I'm really wanting to be more diligent about writing here and I felt a new "look and feel" were in order for me to feel comfy writing here. I think I might be weird.

Anyhow...I'm liking how it's coming along. I have a few more changes to make, but overall it's feeling more along the lines of what I want.

What do you guys think about the new look? Also, is it slow to load or too overwhelming?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Let's go on a Field Trip

I have this really awesome friend, Amanda, who organizes a playgroup every summer. Last summer I had good intentions of us being involved with it, but it just didn't work out. Anyway, this summer I'm really excited that we're going to be joining in on all the fun. Every Thursday Chloe, Ally (the little girl I babysit and Chloe's BFF), and I will be joining the playgroup on their many adventures.

Today we visited Deanna Rose Farmstead in Overland Park. It was quite a drive, but totally worth it. The girls had a blast. I was a little worried because Chloe started begging to be held right when we got there, but was quickly distracted by all the cute little animals and did really great the rest of the day.

Deanna Rose is a cute little "farm" with lots of animals, a bank, schoolhouse, Indian reservation, and playgrounds. The best's FREE!

We started out looking at the chickens. Chloe loves chickens and thinks they are just the cutest little things. I kinda agree!

The girls found a bench that was just their size and took a best friend picture. Every time I take a picture of the two of them they always put their arms around the others neck. It's so cute!

Chloe, surprisingly, was a little timid around the goats today. I'm not really sure why, but she did finally warm up to this sweet little white goat and gave it a few pets.

They had a really big tepee with all the Indian things in it: skins, what they cooked with, blankets, etc. The girls thought it was really neat to grind the corn.

A little later in the day we came to more goats. They were behind a fence and you could feed them. Chloe decided she wasn't scared anymore and wanted to give them some food. The goats of course all came scrambling when they saw a little one with goat food in their hands. It was kind of funny to see them all fighting to get that little nugget of food. Chloe would try to find the goats that were by themselves and feed them instead of the ones who were crowding each other. I don't know if it was because she was scared of the bombardment or because she felt sorry for the little ones off by themselves. Probably a combination of both!

The girls held hands most of the day, which was good for safety and for my heart.

When we got to the bank you could fill out these little pieces of paper to get a scavenger hunt map. Ally turned our paper in and got 2 little maps. We didn't actually do the scavenger hunt, but they thought it was really cool for the banker to give them something.

All around the farmstead there were cute little things for the kids to do. Here Chloe is pumping some drinking water:

Chloe loooves horses and was so excited to see this horse drawn hay-ride. We didn't take a ride, but we gave the horses some love. Chloe kissed their noses and thought it was funny that they were sniffing her.

There was a cute little garden with lots of veggies and flowers. These were my two favorite flowers in the whole garden.

Overall it was a fantastic day! The girls behaved so well and had so much fun together. Can't wait for next week!