Friday, January 23, 2015

That Time I turned 28

It seems kind of strange to blog about my own birthday, but I'm doing it because Nate and the kids made it so, so special for me. No frills, nothing fancy, just a quiet day at home with an amazing dinner that Nate (!!!) made for me. I spent most of the afternoon at home while the babies took naps and the older kids ran errands and did discipleship with Nate. The plan was for them to bring take out home, but I was very surprised when they charged inside with bags from the grocery store and got right to work. "Sit on the couch," he said, "we're making dinner". 30 minutes later, the table was set with an amazing beef and chicken fajita dinner, complete with all the sides. It was honestly one of the most meaningful things anyone has ever done for me.

After dinner, Nate snapped a few pictures of the kids and I. They are far less than perfect, but they are us and I love them.

I actually made my own dessert--a sugar free/low carb turtle cheesecake. Honestly it was the best healthier dessert recipe I've ever tried. If you're interested, Google  "Mrs Criddles turtle cheesecake". It was super easy to make, too!
He is such an involved, helpful, fun dad to our kids. 
A few days later we went out with friends and family for a kid-free dinner and coffee. These people mean so much to me and I'm so thankful for these people in our lives.

This blog post brought to you pool-side, compliments of family vacation. More on that later this week.
Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Modest Mondays (AKA What I Wore Wednesdays)

See how I did that...

...made up for my slacking in not posting Monday by renaming this series for my own convenience?

Anyway! This week's outfit is casual and not hard to piece together depending on what color skirts you have. I have looked everywhere for other skirts like this. It's like a denim, but so fun because it's a bright color! I would love several other colors, but I haven't ben successful yet.
 I love all of the tribal prints that are in right now, plus the patterns help hide post-baby belly. ;) I got some Christmas money and purchased a few of these shirts that are perfect for this climate because they are nice and thin, but still great for the cooler days because they are long sleeved.

Outfit Details:
Jean Jacket: Thrifted (Christopher and Banks brand)
Shirt: Kohls
Skirt: Sears
Tights: Old Navy clearance
Boots: Ross

I would love to know if anyone has found more skirts like this!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Living Loving my Chaos

Life is beautiful. Chaotic, messy, loud, exhausting...but beautiful. Watching my children's relationships with each other  develop and blossom is something I've been observing more and more and it is incredible to watch. Their closeness and love for each other is portrayed when I least expect it and melts my mommy heart. 
 Cute faces from this week:

Oops--that's not a face!
Like I said. Chaotic.

Happy Sunday! Hope you worshipped Jesus in his house today!

Daily Moments

Just a quick mid-week daily moments from my phone. I post a lot of these on Instagram, but I take so many pictures only a small fraction of them get shared.

 We've had special meetings this week that have been just.what.i.needed....I think all of us are feeling that way. The holidays are spent stuffing ourselves with cookies and goodies so January is the perfect month to stuff our spirits full to the brim with the good stuff in preparation for the year.

Came out from the laundry room to see everyone praying together before bed. Loved this scene. And Nathan was about to cough ;)

Heard banging in my cupboard and found him in there with his little bag of cars.

Nothing to see here. Just another day at the office.
Homework buddies

Oh, hi there!

Was super low on groceries so I threw together some Tuna Casserole...needless to say the kids devoured it 2 nights in a row. We may be on to something here..

We've been doing the Bumbo seat here and there, but he doesn't like it for more than a few minutes. I've heard it's not good for babies to be in it long because of their growing spines, but he doesn't really like it too much anyway. Although, he looks thrilled here ;)

We took down all of our Christmas decorations and I've been working like crazy this week to catch up from the lazy holiday break. I figure I can allow myself the month to "cleanse" in a sense--body, soul and spirit. And house. I think by tomorrow I should be caught up so I can resume normal every day routine and not have to do so much extra (hello, putting away 5 loads of laundry).

 Do you guys have to catch up this month, or do you keep up during the holidays? I would love to hear about it--and how you do it!

 Happy Friday-Eve! ;)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Modest Mondays: Dressing up the Basics

I'm going to start a series called "modest Mondays" in which I may or may not faithfully post modest outfit ideas each week. This is totally out of my comfort zone, but modesty is something that is very important to me, and looking cute and feminine at the same time is so fun!
I will include some special guests from time to time (aka my beautiful sisters) as well. We would love to show that being modest doesn't have to be frumpy--you can look stylish, while pleasing God at the same time!

You will see a lot of Thrifted clothes--dressings cute does not have to be expensive! If it's not thrifted, we get a lot of our clothes used off Instagram shops (and have our own shop as well; check it out here!), or clearance racks. 

Ok--I felt totally weird trying to pose for these pictures. I will spare you the "outtakes".  ;)Let's just say Nate and I were laughing pretty hard at the end! I'm not a fashion model by any means. Ha. 

 Another disclaimer (are you asleep yet?): I am trying to be more accepting of my post baby body. Even though I'm not where I want to be yet, I'm doing the best that I can and am SO privileged and blessed to be able to carry and mother children. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and part of learning to be more accepting of the way God made me is posting pictures like this. Thanks for helping me along in the journey in learning to be content with the temple God gave me, while working to get to where I would like to be. I hope that makes sense!

So without further ado... my first Modest Monday Post!

This week is a pretty basic outfit. Black and white isn't really a favorite of mine, but I loved it with some colored tights and a scarf for a pop of color!

My MIL knows my style well--the scarf was one of my Christmas presents from her. Isn't it adorable?!

Love these basic flats with a little sparkle

Cardigan: Old Navy
Cream top: Target
Scarf: Gift
Skirt: Thrifted
Tights: Gift
Shoes: Ross

Please let me know if you enjoy this sort of thing so I know if I should continue or not! I enjoy seeing outfit posts so I thought maybe you would too. ;)

Friday, January 9, 2015

I'm Not Enough

A New Year. A clean new page, a fresh start. Blog posts and Instagram pictures about resolutions—diets, spending more time with God, organizing—I love it all. I’ve always loved Mondays for the clean slate, even though I may be the only person in the world who feels that way.
 This year I haven’t had any great revelations about what I might “resolve” to change, but I do have 2 words
  1)Presentas in, being present. Putting down my phone and ipad, and really focusing on my kids throughout the day. As a Mom home with littles all day, I crave connection with my family and friends. Something outside my kitchen walls or my laundry room. My sisters and best friends have groups texts going constantly and I’m so thankful for the words that fly back and forth throughout the day. Pictures,  videos, outfit opinions, good talks--just as if we were all together.
 But I have little people at home who crave my attention too, so I’m determined to put my phone down more and really be present for these fleeting childhood years. I don’t want to have regrets!

2)Trust—Trusting God. Everyone, including me, is going through something. Each of our trials are different and all of us (mainly ME) has to trust that God has it all under control. He doesn’t need me to try to “fix” anything, make people like me, or defend myself to anyone. He has it under control and will work it out better than I could ever dream.
 He knows the plans for our lives and what is best for us. I just need to calmly trust, without reservation or worry.

  I see people’s pictures online. You know the ones that have it all together. The Mom’s who are seemingly perfect. Their houses are pristine and the kids wear adorable outfits and their hair is always done. Then there is me. I go to take a picture and have to figure out an angle that you can’t see the heap of laundry in the corner and the toys strewn all over. The “distracting elements” as they are called in photography and it’s almost impossible to  find a sliver of somewhere halfway decent . “I’m not enough," I think to myself all the time. I wasn’t cut out to be a mom of MSC (many small children). My house is always a mess, my diet has gone out the window for the 4th time this week, we didn’t do math today so we have to double up tomorrow, Nathan has taken off his clothes for the 4th time today, and I’m pulling frozen chicken out of the freezer at 4 when we are supposed to eat at 5.

 You know what?

 I’m not enough.  I will never be enough. But God is enough. That is where my trust will lie—that is where I am learning to let go and let God use me to be the perfect Mom my kids need.

Enough ramblings.....

 onto the good stuff!

New matching suits (thanks to Christmas clearance!)

Back to school
 (see the bags under my eyes? They're Prada. I wear them proudly)

He discovered his toes last week and it was all kinds of adorableness. There really isn't a cuter milestone in my opinion!

I was right around her age when my dad (yes, my dad) gave us our first cooking lesson. I remember it well. We made Zhucinni parmesan. We sliced and dipped and breaded and spread and sprinkled and baked. While we haven't had an official cooking lesson, she's learning new things several times a week. How to carefully slice with a knife, how to set things carefully in hot pans and how to tell when things are done. She loves it, and I love the quality time together! 
Joe loves to get in on it too, and even though he's a bit younger he's still a big help!

So, what are your resolutions this year? Do you have a "word" of the year? I would love to read about it in the comments!

 Happy Friday! Stay warm!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Our 2014 Christmas

We filled our home with friends and family on Christmas Eve, a tradition I would love to keep for The Christmases we stay here. After the last of them left, we gave the kids the one present they were allowed to open--Christmas pajamas--and tucked them in for the night.
 Nate and I cleaned the kitchen together and once we were done, I pulled out the bags of stocking stuffers that were hidden away and started to stuff. Hair ties, socks, undies, peanut butter trees and matchbox cars. I was completely exhausted by this time, but the sheer excitement of the kids opening everything the next morning was enough adrenaline to keep me awake for a few more hours, not wanting to go to sleep.

It was in this moment that I realized I am my Mother.

 Of course, I couldn't have picked up on any of her other amazing abilities and character, but one thing I did pick up on: I love me some Christmas. Everything about it. Buying things throughout the year at great deals, keeping it stuffed in bags in my closet for months, wrapping them and piling things under the tree, stuffing stockings to the brim and wearing a smile for the entire day of December 25th. Christmas, I have discovered, is so much better as a Mom. The joy of giving, seeing their faces, the twinkly lights, wrapping paper everywhere and most of all, celebrating Jesus....I just can't get enough of it.

We always start our morning out with reading Luke 2, just like my dad always did with us.

Brooke really wanted an American Girl Doll, but there was no way I could or would spend that much on a doll. I found an amazing deal on Felicity off Craigslist a few months ago, and she was so surprised--I even got a few tears. Priceless!
Nicolas slept through most of his first Christmas morning, but did manage to wake up in time for stockings. 

Mommy got a new lens... ;)

Surrounded by brand new toys, and all they want is each other. This.

Happy First Christmas to my Nicolas Picolas Pie!

There is something about Christmas morning that requires a big breakfast. We grew up on it at my grandparents every year, another tradition that is carried on. I love tradition--old and new. I love taking bits and pieces of my childhood and fitting them together with new traditions that we create to make the perfect memories for our own little family.
 Quiche, hashbrowns, snowmen pancakes and cinnamon rolls. We go all out for Jesus' birthday!

We Facetimed my family and grandparents, and once again I was so thankful for technology. Getting to see my Mom's face as the kids opened gifts, and saying Merry Christmas face to face to my grandparents from thousands of miles away is so special! 
 Nate's Mom prepared a delicious Christmas dinner at her house and we ended our day watching The Muppet Christmas Carol. We arrived home stuffed, exhausted and completely happy.

 The day after Christmas, I tried like 10 times to start cleaning the house. Somehow I always ended up on the floor, playing a game with the kids or curled up on the couch with a cup of coffee watching them play.

Last night was early bed time and this morning, early rising again for school. Back to work for me and back to our usual routines and schedules. My tree and all of my decorations are still up, and I'm still listening to Christmas music because I'm not quite ready to say goodbye for the year, but they'll come down soon just in time for the next big holiday... my birthday!!
 Ha, just kidding. 

 I hope you all had a lovely and memorable holiday season. I'm still mulling over New Years resolutions, but I do have 2 words for this year to share with you soon.