Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Our Weekend Through Monday

Well-- yesterday was a bit of a doozey as far as Monday's go and I just did NOT get around to catching up about our weekend {which was pretty fabulous as far as weekends go}. So here is a little rewind of our weekend plus a day!

{F R I D A Y}
Friday when Hudson got off the bus it just felt like the weekend was finally here! It has been so awesome to watch Hudson adapt to kindergarten, hear about his day and just watch him grow even more into who he is.

The weather was beautiful so we tossed his school things inside and played in the backyard for a bit. I also took some time in between playing to work on the boys' activity binders for the plane. I made one for Hudson and one for Beau. In them I put some busy bag activities, some color sheets, blank construction paper, stickers, mini post its and some worksheets from workbooks (my boys LOVE workbook pages...no idea why but I won't fight it!)

I thought we could do patterns with the stickers on the mini construction paper. They could draw with their crayons, write words, etc on the other blank paper. The mini post its are different colors to play a game of tic-tac-toe on the drop down trays. Just simple things to keep them busy. Gabe can also draw and use the stickers. He has packed some books, miniature animals and Disney characters to play with too!

My in-laws also gifted each boy with an mini activity book that works with a water pen. Hopefully they will have enough to keep them busy! If not, there is always the last resort of the iPad but I'm hoping that we don't have to use that until maybe the plane ride home! ;)

We grabbed some dinner after playing outside at a Mexican restaurant (our boys LOVE Mexican). We had some family snuggle time before bed and wrapped up our night. 

{S A T U R D A Y}
Saturday was Hudson's last soccer game of the outdoor season. Neither Andrew or I played soccer before so we really had no idea what we were getting into but we have grown to LOVE watching our boys play soccer. This has been Hudson's third season. He has played with the same friends each season and it is the most fun! They have gotten better each year and are learning so many skills, the importance of sportsmanship and teamwork. 

He ended the season on a high note scoring two goals! So proud of his hustle!!

We came home after the game and started working together to get a few things done around the house. Then I began the task of packing five people for Disney! Honestly, packing hasn't ever been too overwhelming for me. I can pull everything out but my problem is trying not to overpack. If it's just me, not a problem. But it's so long and I don't want anyone to need anything! 

We are checking one bag and have two carry on suitcases. The boys have a backpack with their snacks and activities and we have a diaper bag/backpack that we'll use in the parks as well. 

The boys took a nap while I finished laundry up and then the we loaded up to head to my grandma's for a cookout. 

We played soccer with the boys and my nephews, cooked hot dogs and s'mores. It was such a beautiful, cool evening. I love being close to family. 

{S U N D A Y}
I woke up early on Sunday to have some time to myself. I made monkey bread for the family and my own sweet breakfast for me. 

Our sermon was a new series on peace and oh man was it so good!! I am really excited to hear more. The biggest takeaway: "Peace redefined is not a temporary mental state, but a permanent state of reality." 

I stayed during our second service in one of our kids' rooms. I just love seeing them engage in the lessons, worship time and hearing about their weeks. 

After church I met Andrew and the boys who were at my in-laws. We stayed for lunch and played. My boys are seriously blessed with all the people who love them being so close. I went to the store to get a few things for the trip and Andrew took the boys home. When I got home, Hudson and Beau were playing and Gabe was asleep. Andrew said he walked into the house, grabbed his fox (his lovie) and went to his room and got in bed! Ha! 

Little man was TIRED!!

Sunday night is always our night to get ready for the week. So we played with the boys some and had dinner, read and put them to bed. They were pretty worn out from the weekend and we definitely need them rested before our big trip. 

Andrew and I caught up on some work, did a little more prep for the trip and went to bed. 

{M O N D A Y}
Monday was like most Mondays. Our mornings are pretty full. I made the boys breakfast, got them ready and Hudson on the bus. As he gets on the bus, Gabe's SP arrives. We love her dearly and she works with Gabe for about an hour. As she leaves, I get Beau and Gabe loaded up so we can take Beau to preschool. 

This week is Beau's week at preschool to share All About Me. I was carrying Gabe (who was being crabby) and Beau's poster into school and Beau was happy go-lucky as typical just chatting away. We both tried to walk through the door at the same time and I bumped him with my wide arm load. His head hit the door frame. Bless his heart! 

Whenever my kiddos hit their heads I hold them close and just rub the spot that got hit, except this time, I pulled my hand away to look at him and see you're ok and there was blood. Like a LOT. 

Fortunately, lots of other mamas were dropping off and helped me get me what I needed to clean Beau up (who was so calm and sweet) and see what the situation was. Thankfully it was just a small little nick. No need for stitches or anything other than a little TLC. He didn't want to stay the day. He had a good sized bump and seemed a little shaken up (we've never had blood like that before in our house) so he went home to rest up. 

See--crazy Monday!! 

Thankfully today was a calmer and we are all set for our trip!! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

#BrucesDoDisney- 1 Week!

It is finally almost here! When we started planning this trip, it seemed like it would never come but now we are just 7 DAYS AWAY!!!

Next week we are picking up Hudson from school early to make our drive up to Chicago since we have an early {ish} flight the next morning.

THIS week I am in full on planning, final detail mode.

Going through checklists, deciding what to pack where.

I've broken down my pre-trip lists to the following:

> Final shopping trip/last minute items
> Last minute to-do around the house
> Carry-ons
> Luggage
> During flight entertainment/snacks
> Amazon Pantry Order

The boys are so stinking excited! We have never flown with our kids. In fact, I can't even remember the last time Andrew and I flew together for a trip!! I have lots of fun ideas to keep them entertained and fun tips that were shared with me, but honestly, with it being such a short flight and their excitement I am not too worried about them getting antsy!

As excited as I am, my expectations aren't crazy high. Meaning, I know we are going to have so much fun that I am not stressing about any of it. I know that they can't do everything. I know Gabe might not remember a whole lot of it. I know we aren't going to see it all in the brief time we are there. But there is something pretty amazing about knowing we are going to experience something fun and magical all together for the first time.

Be prepared for a few Disney overload posts when we return!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Gabe Update

At the beginning of this year I started to have some concerns surrounding Gabe and his speech, or his lack of speech to be more exact. I remembered both Hudson and Beau beginning to talk, the time frame, the progression. I wasn't seeing the same pattern in Gabe. I knew from all my child development classes that children reach certain milestones at different times. I knew that is where there is a range versus an exact date for children to do things. And I knew that, with Gabe, he was one to do things in his own time.

This summer though, without seeing progress, with still have this sweet boy quiet more often than not, my mom intuition was desperate to seek out some answers. I didn't want to wait for his two year well visit. I didn't want to prolong getting him help if he was showing a delay. I wanted to make sure I was his advocate.

Fortunately there are services that help determine if there is an actual delay or if your child is just progressing on his own timeline. With Gabe not being able to talk for himself, there were certain aspects of the testing that I had to answer for him. What I had observed. I knew even before we got the results, just from answering the questions, that Gabe was going to show a pretty severe deficit in his area of communication.

Where all other areas were normal or above average, Gabe's expressive language was showing a 40% deficit. He was understanding and comprehending language, he just wasn't talking.

We began services at the beginning of August. Speech therapy once a week with support from a developmental therapist once a week as well to encourage what was happening in speech therapy.

If I'm honest, I wanted to see progress right away. I wanted to see that gap close. I wanted to hear my child talk and express himself. Gabe's sweet personality, silliness, and joyful disposition (most of the time....he is still a typical two year old), I wanted expressed in words!

Two months in, some progress has been made. His attention has gotten better as he focuses on the tasks in front of him. He is using his known, strong words more frequently with more clarity. He is imitating vowels better and making syllables with "repeating" back a word.

But there are still missing pieces. Although he is making a great effort, he still is missing a lot of the sounds.

This week we are diving into two possible scenarios that could be slowing Gabe's progress: a tongue tie or a possible apraxia diagnosis.

We've read up some on both, on how they can effect speech. Our prayer is for God to give us answers. For God to show us how to best help Gabe. For God to give us patience as we wait to see what he needs or if it is just waiting on Gabe.

I'm thankful for early intervention, for knowledge of speech-pathologists and the patience of ours in particular who is so caring and loving with Gabe, even when he is in a salty mood.

I'm also thankful that God already knows what awaits us and is more than capable of taking us on this journey.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Waiting Phase

We have gotten so much support since Andrew and I announced our plans to adopt. The messages and comments and questions have all been really awesome. It is neat to find out from others who have experienced adoption; to hear their perspectives, their stories, their passion surrounding such a decision. Each story breathes new excitement and hope into our journey ahead.

We've gotten a lot of questions about what's next; where we are in the process.

And this is the hard part. We are in the waiting phase. And not the waiting phase everyone typically assumes when they hear of adoption. We aren't waiting on a child. We are waiting to BEGIN.

One area Andrew was very clear on being secure was the area of our finances. We got married young, had a child young, and added to our family quickly. We never really built up a nest egg, both of use paying for and working during college and then moving so quickly into marriage. We don't regret it. But we do know the role financial stress can play in a marriage. We've heard of the stress the adoption process, especially fostering to adopt, can add to a marriage and a family. We want to eliminate as much stress as possible.

So we wait. We work. We pray.

With each inquiry it has been hard for me. I wonder why we have this desire so strongly if now is a season of waiting. I wonder if we are even really equipped enough to be adding another person to our family. If I'm strong enough. If it will ever feel like the time is ready to take that next step.

I've been praying about all of this. About my doubts and insecurities. About God's plan and timing in this. About helping me to have faith and patience to wait on His perfect timing {because His timing IS always perfect.}

And like water to my thirsty soul, He gave me this thought.

Adoption isn't about how good I am. It's about how good HE is. And that's enough.

This journey is not about Andrew or I. It's not about our timing or our plan. It isn't about what we see as the next right child for our family.

God already knows. I believe he knows the age, gender, and time our next child will enter our family.

This season is absolutely about waiting. I'm to lean into who God is and what He's promised. My faith is to carry me through this season, however long it is. It is not my job to understand this journey, but to GO on this journey, wherever it leads.

This is the waiting phase. And I have complete trust that it is only a phase. The next part in our story.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

10 On Tuesday: Spring Cleaning Edition

Spring in the Midwest is a fickle season. March started out lovely and then went back and forth between cold and rainy to lovely and well it continued into April. Gross! Once Valentine's Day has come and gone I am basically ready for spring weather, spring attire and playtime to take place outdoors daily.

In hopes of inspiring the weather to remember spring had sprung, I spent last week spring cleaning. I clean the house on the regular (read weekly) but there are some tasks that don't get done on the regular. Here are 10 things to add to your cleaning routine to get your house spring ready!

1/ Refrigerator and Freezer: I emptied everything out, tossed anything that needed to be and wiped our all drawers, shelves, dispensers, etc before placing the items back in. I did this before a grocery store run so my fridge was pretty bare which made the task simple. I didn't think our fridge was dirty but it certainly was more organized and my husband noticed!!! Cue the face of shock!

2/ Behind oven, fridge and top of cabinets: These spaces just collect dust and because we don't see them often  ever they tend to get neglected. It was a simple extra step that didn't require much time or effort but the "cleanliness next to holiness" side of me just loved sucking up those dust bunnies to be banished forever!

3/ Bedding: We went beyond the typical sheet change. We washed all the bedding; pillows, mattress pads, blankets, duvets, bed skirts. It was a LOT of washing but I just think of all the unseen dust and such that was washed away.

4/ Blinds: The most tedious, painstaking task of my spring cleaning routine. Section by section, dust them off. They do get so dusty and I noticed this week when cleaning my house did seem noticeably less dusty than usual. I'm just going to attribute that to being a HUGE help!

5/ Windows and windowsills: We have our windows open a LOT during the fall and then with winter and all that moisture, the windowsills can get quite dirty. I will need to take the screens out and hose them off but that will be another weekend now that the weather has warmed up.

6/ Diffusers: We use our YL diffusers every night and I don't always clean them as often as I should. I just learned that the oils can actually build up in our diffusers over time and cause them not to work! YIKES! So I let distilled vinegar sit in them about 8 hours (put some in when you wake up), ran it with the vinegar in it for 3-5 minutes then, emptied it, used water to clean the tight spaces and rubbing alcohol on the metal disc. Super simple!

7/ Purge everything: I went through all cabinets, drawers, and closets in every room (including kitchen and bathroom, hall closets, entryway closet). I switched out clothes for a new season, got rid of tones to donate or put in our spring garage sell. That task made our whole house feel more put together.

8/ Vacuum: Walls, baseboards, corners, air vents. Vacuum EV-ER-Y-THING! Use the attachments, move the furniture, and get to work!

9/ Vacuum: No this isn't listed twice by mistake. I clean our vacuum every few months but after a spring cleaning, it needed done again. We have a shark and I empty out the canister, wash and rinse the filters and wipe out all the parts I can. We want to actually have our vacuums work well right?

10/ Light Fixtures: There are some I do pretty regularly but others I just overlook. I did them all when I cleaned. Bathrooms, hallways, entryway, bedrooms! ALL OF THEM! It wasn't too hard but it did make me want to update/replace some of them! Ha!

Here is a spring cleaning checklist I used. I broke my house into phases and it took about 3.5 days. Do you spring clean? What would you add?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

After all of these years, it still surprises me when I try to make a plan but then feel a tug to go a different direction.

I'm a planner to my core. I like organization. I like to know the details. I like consistency and order. I thrive on checklists, tidiness, and a well thought out plan. I like to let loose and have fun, but I also want to know what's coming next.

I have a tendency to make plans for my life.  I always have.  I knew what I wanted to go to college and study. I knew I wanted to be married young and have a family right away.  I knew I wanted two boys and two girls. I knew I wanted to have the perfect house, in the perfect neighborhood (preferably in the south) and to spend my days teaching and my summers taking my little family to the pool.

In a lot of ways, God knew the plans and desires of my heart. And in a lot of ways, my life seemed to go as planned, minus the two boys and two girls part. ;)

Yet, there has been a lot I haven't planned on. I didn't plan on the first year of marriage being so trying. I didn't plan how hard it was to learn to live with someone and put them first and to truly be the kind of wife Christ calls us to be. I didn't plan on having a c-section with our first (with all) child. I didn't plan that after having our first son, I would struggle with feeling down. I didn't plan to quit my job at the time I did and I never planned on moving to a small town I had only heard of once before.

All of those "unplanned" parts of my life God used. In every season of difficulty was growth. My faith was deepened because I leaned in to God and his constant, unwavering love. He pulled me in and spoke truths to my heart.

I think for me, those seasons of growth were necessary. They were necessary because, without them, I wouldn't be aware of God's voice. I wouldn't be seeking so deeply His plan for my life. He has proven over and over that His plans are so much better.

This last year has revealed new plans for my life.  Plans I never expected.  I don't know when or how, but God has gently tugged and whispered to my heart, creating a desire so deep that it moves me to tears when I think about it.

I'm still a planner. I still thrive on details and organization and consistency. I still love to know what's coming. But I'm learning to release the details to the One who has orchestrated them all so much better than any plan I've ever come up with.

Monday, April 4, 2016

April Goals

First Monday of a new month! How is it April already??? This year is going entirely too fast and although I don't want to wish it away, I am always excited for summer and we have some really FUN things coming up this year that I am looking forward to! 

I like to set goals often. Goals for my personal life, my faith walk, my fitness, my business. I don't wait for a new month to set goals but I do like to look at the month ahead and reflect on what I could change or some areas of my life that seem to need some concentration. 

So here are my goals for this new month!

{O N E}
Finish Insanity Max:30. I am starting the 7th week of this eight week program. I did this program over a year ago and honestly lost focus during the second month. This time I decided to embrace the sweat, difficulty and process. Cardio has never been my favorite kind of workout and I allowed my dislike for it to keep me from digging deep last time. This time I found that although cardio still isn't my favorite, I love pushing myself, feeling breathless and really concentrating on the muscles I am using. Two more weeks and I will be more than happy to send in my results and earn my free shirt! 

{T W O}
Another fitness goal?!? Seriously??! (eye roll) Being healthy is something I am really passionate about. I believe that God gave us this one body and we really are called to treat it as a temple. I will be starting the Ultimate Reset on the 18th. This program is a whole food eating plan that resets and repairs the body from the inside.  There are no workouts (yoga and walking are encouraged). I know eating well is hard for me and so I am using this three week program to really help me focus on eating well, but also to dig deeper into my faith and seeking out where God is calling me. 

I've been experiencing some SERIOUS tugs on my heart these past few months and I want to seek out what God is saying, decipher what He is leading me and my family to. Giving up physical cravings and focus on quenching my spirit and craving more of Him and His word. 

{T H R E E}
Spring cleaning! I keep a pretty tidy house. Not just picked up. I like it clean! But there are some definite spring cleaning items we need to get to. 

So this month the two I'd like to tackle are:
--Window Cleaning: Like, inside and outside, screens out, deep cleaning
--Cleaning out/Organizing Cabinets: Bathroom, Kitchen, Laundry room...all the cabinets!!

Anyone ever find a good spring cleaning list?? I swear I have probably pinned a dozen!! Should probably compile and print out the best ones! 

{F O U R}
Read more. I have two books I'm in the middle of. One I need to start. And then, I'd like to find a new devotional type book and one for leisure reading. I love to read but don't always make time for it.  So silly! I'm open to suggestions if you have some good books on your list! 

That's it for April! Those are my four focused goals! Lots to accomplish but definitely all things that will challenge me, grow me, and help me feel more organized! 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Weekend Recap

It was one of those rare weekends around here where we didn't actually have any set plans.  And, as I started looking over the next few weeks and into April, we really don't have a free weekend for awhile. 

{F R I D A Y}
On Friday, it was a little chilly and windy so, to beat the weather, we had my friend and her daughter come over to play after lunch. My boys. Oh, my sweet boys. I know they are young and maybe it was because there was only one friend and maybe it is the difference between boys and girls but goodness, my kids need a lesson on play dates! Not really, but that afternoon Hudson and Beau sure were tired and seemed a little over-emotional. Definitely had a good little talk about how we host our friends and let them choose what to play. Ha!

Friday night we ate in. I made some delicious lasagna.  Confession: I have NEVER made homemade lasagna. I know! Crazy! I made lasagna roll-ups (once) and it was SUCH. A. PROCESS!! But this recipe was so simple. Like 20 minutes to prep and then throw it all in the oven. I added egg, Italian seasoning, salt, and some parmesan cheese to the ricotta cheese mix. And to the pasta meat sauce, I added minced garlic and chopped onions and peppers. And, we served it with some garlic bread from the best little pasta place in town. My whole family ate it up!!

We played with the boys and introduced them to some Planet Earth which they DUG! Then after we put the boys to bed, Andrew and I indulged in a little Parenthood. I'm a bit obsessed and only slightly want to change my last name to Braverman. ;) 

{S A T U R D A Y}
Saturday we ALL slept in. It was so so nice!! I made the boys cinnamon rolls and myself a little shake before getting in a quick workout while Andrew went on a run. 

Did a total body circuit and Insanity Max 10 Minute Abs.

Since it was chilly again, I didn't want to spend all day at the house with not much to do. We decided to take a little day trip to Springfield to do a little shopping and grab lunch. I needed to run to Kohls. We went to some stores and looked at flooring. (I am so ready to start the remodel process!!) Then we grabbed lunch. 

This cutie cat napped on the way. Those hands behind his head?!!! Swoon!

With the boys being over-emotional Friday, I have to brag about how great they were at lunch. At lunch, we were seated and placed our order quickly. Forty minutes later, our waitress came to tell us the kitchen had lost our ticket so they were making our food. The boys waited a little over an hour and sat so good, never really complaining. 

After lunch we made one last stop. Hudson is all signed up for t-ball so we needed to get him a bag and glove. And of course, we needed to check all the hunting, fishing, camping, outdoorsy stuff before leaving! ;) 

The boys were wiped from the day. We had a late dinner and after baths, the boys went to bed. 

{S U N D A Y}
We woke up to SNOW this morning! I could not believe it! Only in the Midwest can it be snowing on the first day of spring! By the time we left for church, the sun was shining and it was already starting to melt. PTL!!! Bring on spring! 

The littles at church today got to come in and lead us all in a song for Palm Sunday. I started working in the preschool area recently and have loved seeing how the truths of God's word and his love are being taught each week to our kids. 

I stayed to help during second service while Andrew and the boys went to his parents to play. After lunch and playing the boys went down for a late nap. 

This weekend was simple, fun and flew by! This week will be packed full as we head into the Easter weekend: play dates, Easter toes, preschool party and a date night. 

Hope you all had a great weekend! 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring is in the Air

Aside from Monday, this week's weather has been beautiful. Nothing was better than an almost 75* day on Tuesday but nonetheless, it has been blue skies and sunshine and we've taken full advantage.

Since Monday wasn't the nicest, and since Hudson and Beau didn't feel super great Monday morning, I caught up on a little cleaning, laundry and food prep for the week.

Which left time for LOTS of outdoor play on Tuesday. We went outside around 10:30 Tuesday morning and basically didn't come in until bath time! {Breaking for lunch and dinner of course!!}I even did my work outside for a bit while the big two played and Gabe napped. And that night, I had the faintest of faint lines from my tank top. I mean, it was enough to make my heart squeal.

This photo cracks me up. The helmets while driving! HA! They had just been riding bikes and went to drive around Gabe. Bless!

Yesterday was nice but so windy!!! We played outside for about an hour after preschool and lunch but that wind was just too much! I had it was a "nap afternoon" for everyone just because I knew it would be a busy evening. 

Digging. Don't have a shovel?? Golf club or bat will do!

Last night, my friend was having a trunk show at her house.  Since fall, two new, local clothing boutiques have opened in our area and I am IN LOVE with their stuff! They ship anywhere. They have a website for easy ordering but also both offer trunk shows. So they set their merchandise up at your house and you and your friends shop, drink and be merry! Perfection, right??? Plus it supports small business and I am all about that being a small business myself! 

My friend, Jenny (who was having the show) lives a couple streets over so I invited her to send her crew down to my house for dinner and to play. My friend, Jill, was coming with me to shop so her husband brought their kids over and my backyard turned into daddy daycare!

8 kids. 5 boys, 3 girls. Ages 8 and under. 

I just have to brag on my sweet guy for a second. I came home two hours later and all the kids were playing in the basement (it had cooled off and was dark by the time Jill and I returned), happy as can be, and my entire kitchen was spotless. He even washed Jill's pan she brought over to help with dinner! Like, dad of the year. He is the best!!

I can't wait for the temps to really warm up so I can start wearing all the fun new looks I've been collecting. I will highlight a few things soon!

And today is another gorgeous day! I see a long walk and more playtime outside in our future!!

Oh, this guy got a little messy during breakfast this morning. #longhairdontcare? I see hair cuts in my boys futures too! ;) 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Parenthood is so hard. No one really prepares you for it. Probably because that is an impossible task.  How could anyone prepare you for a job that has so many roles wrapped up into it?

Andrew has been traveling a lot. Like 2-3 overnights a week on average. It can be tough. The joy of working from home is that I don't have to miss a moment. The tough part of working from home is that I don't miss a moment. The good and bad, the ugly, the tantrums, the whining, the fights and fits-I'm there for it all. And it is exhausting.

There are days where I feel like I aced the test of the day. The day to day items were taken care of but the whole day seemed to be sprinkled with fun, laughter, joy. Then there are days when I crawl into my bed and swallow giant sobs because I feel like I failed so miserably.

Talk about peaks and valleys.

.            .            .

Andrew and I got Netflix right around Christmastime (Get with the times, I know!!) and just a week or so ago got around to starting a new (to us) series, Parenthood. (Again, we are beyond behind. We know. Be kind.)

The very first episode I was hooked. Any show that can have me laughing out loud one minute and tearing up the next has me. Throw in the chaos of real life, family issues, and the raw honesty that can have you hating a sibling and then backing them up--you've got yourself a fan!!!

.             .            .

I was thinking how true to life that show is. No nice, neat bow to wrap up every episode. Some real messes. Some real trials. Some situations that not all families walk through together and come out on the other side in tact.

I think what draws me in to the show, besides the hilarity and emotion of it all, is that the show is one giant mess wrapped in love and grace.

Isn't it? And isn't that what we all want? To know that in this life, with this family we are given, that no matter the circumstance we will come out the other side in tact because at the end of the day, love and grace abounds,

.            .           .

I think of my boys. So close in age that it is beautiful and exhausting. Their personalities are developing so rapidly that it often causes clashes of their wills. But in the next minute, I see Beau comforting Gabe, Hudson giving up a toy, or body-shaking laughter among the three of them to some joke I am not privy to.

This parenting thing, being their mom, is hard.  I know it is only for a season. But I know every new season brings a new kind of hard. I can only pray that love and grace abounds from our home. That in all we do, it is the guiding force of our parenting, of our choices, of our words.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

This week...

It's March! How did that happen??!!

This week has definitely been a typical March week in the Midwest. Sunny one day, sleet the next! Sheesh! C'mon spring! We are pulling for you.

Monday was such a beautiful day. The sun was shining when we woke up! Who can be in a bad mood when the sun greets you? Andrew was so happy to see the sun he started his morning with a run!

I started a new fitness program that is HIIT cardio based and am practicing working out in a fasted state. So after I served my boys breakfast, I immediately got my workout in while they joined me played. After my workout, I joined in on the playing. Right now my boys go from playing well together like best buds to fighting over everything. It is the beast and the blessing of having three boys so close in age.

To take a break from all the fighting, we did a little food prep together. We cut and washed all the fruits and veggies. We made egg muffins and these delicious blueberry, banana oatmeal muffins. I roasted some brussel sprouts to pair with some lunches for me this week too.

We ate our lunch a little early because the weather was so beautiful. Blue skies, warm and breezy. We met one of my friends and her daughter for a walk. We loaded up the doubles and took the longest walk. There was a park along the way that we stopped to play at.

I marveled at how big my boys actually are. They were all so capable of the stairs and slides and swings. I kept thinking how this will be the first summer without a baby or a pregnancy; with just my boys and Gabe as a toddler. I am definitely excited for all the adventures.

Tuesday greeted us with gray skies. What a bummer! Fortunately, we had morning errands to keep us busy. It was my scheduled appointment with my brow gal and can I just sidetrack for a second. A good brow gal is a NECESSITY, ladies!!! It's been about a year and I am just so embarrassed at my old brows that were shapeless and too thin! Yikes! Bonus--I take my boys with me because she always gets me right in at my appointment and is so sweet as she chats with my and my littles.

We then had to make a grocery grab for a few items, swing by the bank and mail out a package to one of my coaches. Hudson and Beau really needed haircuts but the temperature had really dropped and Gabe was really over errands so we went home and I opened up "Salon Mom".

Tuesday night we tried a new recipe for dinner that every one ate. My boys don't always love fish and it didn't crisp quite the way I anticipated but it was pretty good overall. I am ready for grilling weather to come. All the recipes I want to try just scream summer and I can't take myself to make them when sleet is happening outside my window.

We've been reading the Little House on the Prairie series with our boys and are almost done with On the Banks of Plum Creek. No matter what the chapter is on, Hudson always has about 5-10 questions after. Why, what, how?? It is thrilling (and sometimes exhausting) to see how he is trying to wrap his mind around what he is hearing. I love the curiosity he has. We then read a story from the boys' Jesus Calling Bible. And both Beau and Hud have questions, request one more story. They are getting pretty gutsy in trying to stretch their bedtime routine out.

Wednesday was a whirlwind. Everyone seemed to wake up early. (PTL for the pre-made breakfasts we had!) Hudson's classmates were having a play date after preschool at the museum but I had SO MUCH to do. I have really been trying to instill a sense of responsibility in our big boys; helping them to understand that being a helper is valued. I made a deal if they helped me with some of the house cleaning before Hudson's preschool we could do the play date.

They were such good, cheerful helpers! I was so proud of their work! After drop-off, Beau and Gabe "helped" me finish the cleaning, I got my workout in, and we all got cleaned up before pick up time! Their hard work was rewarded with Jimmy John's lunch and play time at the museum.

Andrew is traveling this week and I had a small group meeting so my mom came over to watch the boys. I am so thankful for the people in my small group. I love doing life with them and sharing all the good, bad and hard.

Sometimes during the day, in the hustle of activity, household responsibilities and the trying time that is raising three littles, I can lose sight of how precious these days are. But I know how blessed I am to be able to be in their every moment.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Date Night

Last Friday I got to spend some quality time with Hudson. He had his first soccer game of this next indoor season. I have loved watching him learn more about this sport and really see him gain confidence in the new skills he's learning.

I had told Hudson that we could do something just him and I after the game since Andrew wasn't feeling great and decided to just stay home with the younger boys.

It isn't very often that I get to spend time one on one with my boys. Not as much as I'd like. Between having three boys, a husband who travels, and just our day to day schedule, Andrew and I try to split our time with our family, honoring our marriage, and giving each other time to be who we are. Needless to say, it can be a lot to juggle. I know other parents have to feel me on this, right??

The gym is across town. I turned the radio down and tuned in to Hudson. He is a talker. He hates when he gets interrupted by his little brothers. He has a big personality. I never want to forget the way he thinks; the ideas he has; how smart he is.

Hud: Hey mom..
Me: Yeah, babe.
Hud: You know there's a window in the basement.
Me: Yeah.
Hud: So like we are under the ground.
Me: Yeah Hudson, the basement is under the ground. The window shows right above the ground.
Hud; Like we are underground but the ninja turtles are deeper underground.  Their lair is deeper.
Me: Lair??
Hud: Yeah, mom, like their hide out.

Hud: I am getting pretty good at soccer, I think.
Me: I think so too, bud.
Hud: But like, mom, if I am playing I can't like take a toy away from Cruze because we can't take toys we have to wait our turn. But when I play soccer I can just take the ball because that's the game.
Me: Well, right. But you can't take the  ball away from people on your team.
Hud: Oh no, mom.

Hudson plays 3 on 3 soccer. There are supposed to be five players to each team so they learn to sub in and out. However, this week, there were only three boys that showed up, including Hudson. Those sweet boys played two 12 minute halves, had a quick break between games, and then did it again.  They were definitely all dragging by the end. Hudson would turn around and look at my mom, Andrew's mom and I like, "I am dying out here. Are we almost done?" But he kept chugging along.

He scored two or three goals over the course of the night. And his face lit up every time. I thought he would be pretty exhausted after his games, but the first thing he said when he came up to us was, "can we go on our date now??" Bless. His. Heart.

He said he was starving. He had only eaten a light dinner because, non stop running. So he asked to go to Culver's (huge shock! <---saracasm. My kids LOVE Culver's). We got into the car, got buckled and before we were off, he was chatting away again.

Hud: Mom, my legs are like so tired. Like my feet are tired. They hurt. I think we ran forever. We were better than the green team I think but the white team might have been better than us, I think.
Me: Well..
Hud: But we played good because we played the whole time.
Me: You did play awesome, babe.
Hud: I just want to be on TV.
Me: TV?
Hud: Like yeah, just on TV.
Me: Like on a show or a movie?
Hud: Mom, like for soccer. Because I'm so good. I can play on TV. And people could watch me. When they go to Mexican.
Me: Literally laughing out loud so hard!!!!!

This sweet boy polished off an entire cheeseburger (with ketchup and pickle, of course) and then we took some sweet treats home to share with Daddy and Beau.

When we were tucking the boys into bed that night, Beau prayed. Then Hudson prayed.

"Dear God, thank you for my date with mommy and our good day and bless we'll have a good day tomorrow."  Hudson- age 4.5

Hudson, you bless my heart so much. I am so thankful that God let me be your mommy. I pray each day you continue to find a deeper faith and closer walk with Jesus. That you listen to your heart and go after all your dreams. That you work hard and are kind to others. I am so blessed to be your mommy and share in special moments with you! <3

Monday, January 18, 2016

Weekend Recap: Baby it's cold outside!!

BRRRR!!! It is ridiculously cold here. Last week's teaser day of mid-50 degree weather definitely made me ready for springtime temperatures. And the weekend's arctic like weather further drives that point home!

We had such a great weekend though! I started looking forward to our weekend Thursday night. Whenever Andrew has a heavy travel week I start longing for our weekend days that much sooner.

{F R I D A Y}
It was rainy and cold on Friday so the boys and I spent the day playing indoors. The usual superhero, puzzles, Star Wars, Lego line up. Andrew got home that afternoon and was completely drained from his work week.  On top of that, he sounded terrible! Like hacking cough, blowing the nose, scratchy throat terrible. No one has time for that on the weekend so I made the decision to divide and conquer.  Hudson's first night of the new soccer season was that night and instead of dragging everyone out into the wet and cold, I asked Andrew to stay home with Beau and Gabe and relax.

Hudson is playing 3X3 for the next several weeks. He has two games every Friday night. He is on the same team as one of his buddies which is always fun.  Hudson first started playing 3X3 last fall and has since done a couple of skill sessions. It was fun to see how much he has grown since that first game.

I told Hudson he and I could have a little date after his game since it was just he and I. I love family time but there is something so special about that 1:1 time with your kids. I'll share more about that time later on.

Sweet boy

After getting the boys to bed (Beau was waiting up for us with Andrew), and hearing Andrew cough for the thousandth time, I made him put on some oils and we put the diffuser on. Then we pretended we were SUPER OLD and turned on the documentary Food, Inc.  No wait, we are old. 

{S A T U R D A Y}
I love when we don't have too much on the agenda and this Saturday we actually didn't have a thing! I made the boys breakfast--cinnamon rolls. And then whipped up some superfoods for Andrew and I. Andrew didn't sound great but said he was feeling a little better. So more oils and diffusing (I used Frankincense on his throat- neat; RC and peppermint layered on his chest and spine; and thieves on his feet. I diffused purification.) 

We have had some entry way decor since Christmas that needed hung but the mirror we ordered was damaged and had to be returned.  Andrew got that taken care of this past week so we finally had everything to hang.  I still need to add the cotton stems to the metal hanging bucket and also a few trinkets on our shelf but LOVE how it turned out. We don't have a large entry space so had to think of something beside a table. Eventually we will shiplap our entry and convert our coat closet into an open sitting area to hang coats and take off/put on shoes. 

I got my workout in while the boys played around me. It wrapped up my third week on my program and I am ecstatic with the gains I am making strength wise.  My challenge group checked in and are down some serious inches and pounds after just two weeks! So proud of them!

Winter can get a little boring when the weather is so cold. I didn't want to spend another Saturday night in so earlier this week I invited some friends to check out a new bowling and pizza place a couple towns over.  Hudson had been bowling before but Beau had not.  We had a kid's lane and adult lane. The service was super fast and accommodating; HUGE plus when you have 6 adults and 5 small kiddos. My kids loved that they could eat, get up and play a little, come back for some more.  They NEVER get to do that at home (obviously) so loved that! 

{S U N D A Y}
We woke up Sunday to negative temperatures and made the decision not to get out in the weather for church. Instead, I made a big breakfast and we all sat around not in a rush. I love Sunday mornings with our church family but this was definitely the next best place to be. 

It was a lazy day of play and naps and snuggles. The boys stayed in their PJs all day. I only got out of my PJs to work out and then got right back into some comfy sweatpants! Ha! I did get my food all prepped for the week and some laundry caught up on so I count that a success too. 

We ended our weekend with a family game night and finally finishing Farmer Boy. My boys loved reading about Almanzo.  I think they are a little sad the next book isn't about him too! 

Hopefully you all had a great weekend too!! 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Life Lately

Around here, it has been a heck of a week. No easing us back into the school and work routine.  Andrew has spent the last three evenings away working late which has made some long(er) days for this mama!

Honestly, when Andrew really dove into his job at this time last year, he traveled WAY more and it was WAY harder because everyone was a year younger.  Trying to really focus  more on the joy in each stage of life (you can read more about some of my goals here), I decided to actively try to thank God throughout out the day.

"Thank you God that Gabe can get a snack out of the snack drawer while I cook dinner so he doesn't just stand at my feet and whine..."

"Thank you God that two are out of diapers and can wipe their own sweet cheeks.."

"Thank you God for these little hands to help me put this laundry into the dryer..."

"Thank you God for friends that live close by to play with (to ensure really good naps at nap time today)..."

I know some of those are silly but keeping a thankful heart really helped me with perspective.  Motherhood is hard. And days without my partner are long but I am so thankful for the responsibility of this task and a Heavenly Father who is always with me to help me through.

I've been making weekly lists lately. Each day I delegate a few tasks to get done. It has helped me be really productive not only in the housework, but in my business, while also making sure I get to spend time with the boys. I used to have things pile up and then spend a whole couple of days trying to get everything done and that wasn't good for anybody. This system is working out nicely!

Gabe got a haircut this week. I just can't bring myself to take him to get his haircut yet. He seems to little for the chair.  And it seriously doesn't take but 10 minutes so way not save myself the hassle.  Isn't he darling??

The boys have also been OBSESSED with games since getting some new ones for Christmas.  I am thrilled we have graduated from Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders (the games that never end, amen?!!?). Headbandz, Guess Who, Pie Face, Minion Memory- all some of our favorites.  It is really fun to watch Hudson and Beau get so animated as we play. And to see their little minds search for the right word, question, or guess.

I'm not sure how much longer we can bathe all three together because, well space and age, but I sure do love their conversations as they get clean and ready for bed each night.

I am halfway through week 3 of my new workout program, Hammer and Chisel, and am loving it!!! It has hands down my new favorite program (and I have done a lot of different at home workouts). Even more than that, I am seeing some awesome results. I am down 7 pounds and several inches in just 2.5 weeks. And my current accountability group are all seeing results too! It is so exciting to be a part of helping other women find inner strength and a path to better health!

That's about it around here! Today was FINALLY a warm day; temperatures in the 50s. The boys and I got some outdoor playtime in after lunch. Two on one soccer, scooter riding, and swinging!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Weekend Love

I love the weekends. Which is funny because now that I work from home, sometimes I don't even know what day it is because I don't work Monday through Friday, but nevertheless, weekends always seem to be filled with lots of extra fun.

Friday night we were all excited for Andrew to get home. He left Thursday morning and had an overnight for work. After having two weeks with him home for the holidays, the transition back to work has been hard on the boys (and ME!) so we were excited to have him home!

I deemed that evening pizza night and whipped up a homemade pizza. Andrew and I are really working hard towards our health and fitness goals so I made most of the pizza with turkey pepperoni and light cheese. On my little area, I also did light cheese but piled up chopped onions, green peppers, broccoli bits and carrot shreds. Andrew and I paired our slice with nice mixed green salad and totally felt satisfied.

The boys had a great week (and we had coupons) so I suggested to Andrew that we make a little trip to Culver's.  I spelled out Culver's just in case Andrew wanted to veto the idea.  Hudson has been on this kick lately of wanting to know everything going on. In true fashion, he didn't let the spelling slide. I told him if he could figure it out, he would know. I respelled the word slowly and by the "v" he guessed Culver's and tagged on ICE CREAM!!!!

Now I'm not sure if that means he is really getting his letter sounds down and putting it all together or if we frequent that joint too much! ;)

After dinner the boys got a bath while I cleaned up and then we trekked out to get some ice cream to go.  Andrew and I did really good here again and got nothing. If you know me, you know there is a deep love in my heart for ice cream so this was a big #NSV.

We wrapped our night with a few rounds of bumper motorcycles (remote control motorcycles the boys got for Christmas) and a chapter of Farmer Boy. Family nights are so much fun!

Saturday was deemed "Guys' Day" since I had my quarterly coach event, Super Saturday. I met up with a couple of local coaches from our team and we drove over. It was one of my favorite live events. I got so many great ideas to better help the clients I work with, ideas to help my team thrive and help more people and a KILLER workout! We were dripping sweat after the thirty minutes were up.

When I got home, Andrew and I pushed play on day 13 of Hammer and Chisel while the boys were napping. It was a doozey!

With all the family time we had been blessed to have lately, I felt like Andrew and I needed some 1:1 time.  It had been almost a month since our last date night.  Fortunately one of our go-to sitters was available!

Andrew and I got to head out to a late (for us) dinner at one of our favorite local places.

Sunday flew by! Church, naps and workout, housework and playing with boys. We did get to cap it off and meet some friends for a quick dinner at a near by Mexican restaurant.

Overall, a pretty low key weekend. Looking forward to this week and all that is in store! New indoor soccer season kicking off, three day weekend for Hudson, babysitting our sweet nephew, and finalizing Hudson's birthday weekend.

Favor: We are planning a fun, family weekend in Chicago for Hudson's birthday coming up. Any must-do suggestions or must-try places to eat?? Remember, family of 5; three kiddos (almost) 5 and under! Thanks in advance!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Year, Better Me

It's been months since I've last blogged. Life has definitely been busy. I started this blog two years ago as a way to document our lives in all it's busy, crazy, growing years. I want to remember the best times with my family. I want them to have a place to come and remember when I can no longer tell them the stories.

But, with everything that has good intentions, blogging was often times put on the back burner. Between moves, having another baby, building a business, and, if I'm being honest, not sure my blog was any good when I compared it to the other blogs I love , I just stopped.

During the last few weeks of 2015 I hit the pause button on some areas of my life in a BIG way. Each day was about me spending my time how I saw it. If that meant playing Legos for hours. If it meant watching Netflix instead of being productive. If it meant skipping a workout session. If it meant ordering take out two nights in a row because, eh, who really wants to cook.

You see, I had put all this pressure on myself to map out my days a certain way. I had laid out these goals with these deadlines; buried myself in expectations I had conjured up about what would make me better, be best for our family. And while most of those expectations and goals still ring true, I learned I wanted to go about achieving them in a very DIFFERENT way.

I revised my goals for 2016. Here it is six days in and I am just writing my first blog of the new year. Because one of my goals for myself is

{ G R A C E }
Grace extended to me from me. Grace extended to my kids when they ask (for the 100th time) what we are doing today. Grace extended to my husband when, although he tries his best, he just doesn't understand how I'm so tired when I've just been home all day. Grace to the person in front of me in line at the grocery store who is taking forever to check out her 4 items. Grace.

I'm human. I will have good and bad days. And the bad days don't really matter unless I dwell on them and forget that I'm human because I get so wrapped up in trying to be perfect.


{ B A L A N C E }
I'm claiming balance in 2016. All that stuff I listed: wife, mom, Beachbody coach, school board member, taxi driver, etc... I can be each of those things. I can do those things well. But I can't do them all ALL the time. I will do what must be done first every day. The other tasks I cross of my list--they are bonus. Because I know I can't get it all done every day. But some. I am committing to some each day.

But most of all....

{ J O Y }
I hit pause back in December for the simple fact that, for being the most wonderful time of the year, I wasn't feeling so wonderful. And that is not OK. I love the holiday season and I would be damned if I wasn't going to find a way to be JOYFUL in it.

I looked at what I was doing and asked if it would bring me joy in that moment. If it wasn't going to, and didn't HAVE TO be done, I didn't do it.

And in doing that, I realized quickly the things in my life that do bring me joy.

  • my family
  • my friends
  • working out
  • reading
  • time in God's word
  • blogging
  • helping others through my work
I realized I love most of what I already did, just not how I did it.

That is why I'm blogging again. It brings me joy. I love looking back at our babies. I love reading how life was at a point in time. I enjoy sharing my perspective and thoughts. It isn't about anyone else.

This year, when I set goals and go after achieving them, those three words are in my mind. They are the heartbeat of my day-to-day.