The Best Days of Our Lives

December 17, 2014

As another year comes to an end, I look back and wonder, Where in the world did it go?

Most of my days are just getting through the hectic morning, a busy day at work, the after-work-and-school playtime, dinnertime, bathtime and bedtime routine, and then by 9 o'clock I am making my way to bed from exhaustion. Rinse. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

Sometimes I look at this time of our lives anxiously waiting for the next phase of our lives. That imaginary phase that hasn't happened yet. That phase where we have more money. Less financial burdens. More time with each other. Less time working outside of the house. More square footage. Less house projects. More date nights. Less of the unknown.

More. Less. More. Less. We always want more or less.

But what if these are the best days of our lives?


What if one day when we're sitting in our more-than-two-bedroom house, we think, Remember when we just had that little, cozy place to take care of, yet we daydreamed together of a bigger, better house?

What if one day when we have more than just Liam, we think, Remember when we spent our evenings laughing and playing and we thought we were tired then?

What if one day when Chris' schooling is behind him and he starts his nursing career, we think, Remember when our time was so much more intentional because it had to be, because we didn't have every night together and we craved each other's company?

What if today is the day we think about ten years from now when we look back on the best days of our lives? These tired, hard, simpler days where we feel like we're floating through in survival mode. 

But there are those moments around the dinner table at night when Liam is doing anything and everything to make us laugh. Those evenings where we throw everyone in the car to go somewhere, anywhere and make the most of the 5 o'clock witching hour. The weekend mornings where Liam and I sit in the living room for hours playing with every toy we come across, watching Daniel Tiger and refilling my coffee mug over and over. The nights where Chris is home to give him a bath and I can catch up on laundry just outside the door so that I have one less thing to worry about. The evenings where we can both collapse on the couch and just be because our toddler is sleeping soundly upstairs and for 12 whole hours, we aren't quite needed as much.

These just might be the days.

And I don't want to miss that.


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Liam: Twenty-One Months

December 16, 2014


Growing: At 21 months (almost TWO, y'all!), Liam weighs about 31 pounds (90th percentile) and is 36 inches tall (still off the charts). For comparison's sake, Chris was a 1/4 inch shorter at 22 months and weighed the exact same. Genes are incredible. (And Chris' genes are obviously dominant.) He still only has 12 full teeth: four top and four bottom, and four of his molars - but one more tooth is popping in as I write this. (And if you were in our house last night, that would have been VERY obvious.)

Wearing: He's in all 3T clothes and 3T pajamas. He is in size 5 diapers and he wears size 8 shoes (but he's about to move up to a 9 in his tennis shoes). 

Eating: He eats three meals a day with lots of snacks in between. He takes a cup of milk in the morning, after his nap, and right before bed. His favorite foods include cheese, yogurt, apples and Chick-fil-a nuggets. His ultimate favorite is still bananas.

Doing: He climbs, jumps, turns in circles, runs, kicks (soccer balls, not people), and can throw a fun tantrum. He also gives great hugs and kisses. Lately, he's been into "make believe" and he cooks food or packs up his wagon with toys and says, "Bye!"

Playing: His favorite things to play with are his fort and tunnel, his pots and pans, and anything with wheels. He goes from one thing to the next and he would live outside if we let him. (But I think people would frown upon that, so we don't.) 

Saying: He says a ton of words we recognize, and a ton we don't recognize. He is also starting to say more phrases. Lately, it's "C'mon, Mama!" and "Bye, Daddy!" and "Here, Doggy!" and "No, Doggy!" Also, "Mine." We're working on sharing.

Loving: He loves his school, playing outside, and cuddling up at night to watch Daniel Tiger.

Overall, he is the funniest person we know and he makes us laugh all the time. He knows it, too.

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An Ornamentless Christmas

December 10, 2014

We finally set the tree up the other day, and then it sat bare. Watching the calendar tick away, I anxiously awaited for the rest of the decor to go up so that we could make the most out of the tree before Christmas was well past us. Liam stayed home sick yesterday, so we found a golden opportunity to finish the lights during his nap.

As soon as the lights were on and working, I turned to the boxes of ornaments all packed up nice and neatly from last year. I looked at them, contemplating.

And then I got this overwhelming feeling of I don't want to hang ornaments.

In the past, it was one of my favorite parts of decorating. I loved coming across the different pieces that were merged from our pasts, or new to our marriage. We bought special ornaments that represented our first year of marriage and our first baby. I always bought a few new ornaments each year that reminded me of the year behind us.

But this year, I am seeing Christmas through a busy toddler's eyes. And I want to focus on that spark.

Maybe it's just this busy season of life we are in, but the thought of hanging ornaments, keeping a toddler's curious hands off of those said ornaments for the next two weeks, and then taking down all of the ornaments sounded like way too much.

Liam justified my decision when he came downstairs, put his hands straight on the tree, and then found two of his cars to ride up and down its branches.

I wasn't about to spend my every morning and evening saying no, no, no, no, no.

So in an effort to say "Don't touch!" less often and in an effort to give myself the gift of grace, we are enjoying an ornamentless Christmas tree this year.

I hope you find a way to give yourself grace, too.




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All I Want for Christmas Is Rest

December 02, 2014

It's been a hectic, busy year. Most weeks, I am running in survival mode just to get to Friday because at least on the weekend I don't have to get two people out the door and dressed and functioning.

I am so tired of living in that kind of survival mode. Literally, tired.

A few months ago, a dear friend, Ginger, asked me to come alongside her and another friend, Carey, to be a part of With Joy Retreats as the Administrative Director. My organized, Type-A self jumped for joy - no pun intended - at the idea of being part of a weekend away for women.

Most of all, I was excited to be a part of retreat that isn't going to be about social media and hashtags and meeting a million people and going to back-to-back-to-back-to-back meetings. Instead, it's going to be about resting and being and finding purpose in the resting and being. Come April, I will be off on a weekend away with a wonderful team hosting over 50 women who want just that: to rest and to be.

My goal for December is to begin this ritual of rest. I want to fill my calendar with intentional times with my family and intentional times for myself. I want to be okay if there's nothing on the calendar for the weekend or if I spend the evening after a long work day sitting and resting instead of tackling a to do list.

Are you looking for rest? Are you looking for intentional time to just be? Consider joining me and others here in Arizona for a weekend away.

In the meantime, enter the giveaway below to give you a jump start on intentional time of rest. One person will win Breath for the Bones by Luci ShawTaking Flight by Kelly Rae RobertsLonging for More by Tim Willard, a "You Are Loved Necklace" from Lisa Leonard, a Scenty Plug-In and Two Bars, and a mug from World Market.

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As we ease into this busy month of holidays, parties, socializing, gift-giving and family time, make sure to allow yourself time to rest. It can be one of the greatest gifts of all.

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Getting Personal

November 24, 2014

Fortunately, having a boy is pretty easy when it comes to his wardrobe: t-shirts and shorts for days. Because it's so easy, it can get boring. Therefore, I try and intentionally find cute, unique pieces to add to his closet so it doesn't become too mundane. (I mean, he will probably get it dirty anyway, but it's the thought that counts.)

One of my favorite new personalized finds is the clothing collection at Bright Star Kids. I recently went crazy and added three cute, personalized shirts to my shopping cart. Insert a cute, personable kid, and we've got ourselves a photo-worthy moment.

I bought this one with my bike-loving husband in mind who hopes his son will ride alongside him one day.


And this one made me think of Liam being all-boy, toddling around the playground at school.


And I can't wait for him to wear this one on Christmas Eve because how could he not?


Instead of just his name like on the bicycle shirt, there was enough room to add cute phrases like "Liam's Transport Co." and "Liam's Tree Service." I love how they are personalized without being so obviously personalized. It's the perfect touch! There are over 100 options, so trying to narrow it down to just three was hard.

I've got lots of friends (lots and lots) expecting babies in the near future, so I'm looking forward to seeing what names they pick out so I can start getting personal with gifts, too. 

As you're getting into the gift-giving spirit of the holidays, make sure to take a peek at Bright Star Kids to see if there is a special gift you can put under a special someone's tree this year. 


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bright Star Kids. The opinions and text are all mine.

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