Sunday, March 31, 2013

{Happy} Easter 2013.

Happy Easter! He is risen and alive... that is the best news of all this weekend! We've had a full, busy weekend with our boys, celebrating Jesus. I have loved watching both boys truly grasp the meaning of Easter. Nothing makes a momma heart more happy than hearing her babies speak of Jesus. NOTHING.

Thursday we made Resurrection Rolls. At first the boys were a bit confused about Jesus being a marshmallow. But they went along with it, and I think the premise of the rolls really set in. They also thought they were really yummy :)

Saturday Brayden had his first t-ball meeting. Practice has either been frozen or rained out all week, so he was SO excited to wake up and at least go and meet his teammates. He has looked forward to this for over a year (he's been asking to play since last spring, which is the only reason I signed him up so young). He was SO proud of his new hat (he'll also get a jersey when it gets closer to game time). GO BRAVES!
Saturday night we went to church to avoid the Sunday morning Easter rush. I snapped a few pics of the boys in their outfits before we left. I am one blessed momma!
I was SO excited about their outfits. I found the shorts at the consignment sale I get most of their clothes at- They are matching!!! Such a rare find.
(I love Connor's face in this picture)
If I ask him to make a funny face, it's inevitable that this is what I'll get. He's such a hoot.

Sunday the boys woke up a little late since we were out so late on Saturday. We read the Easter story (from the Jesus Storybook Bible), and they got to check out all of their gifts in their baskets. We had my Uncle Paul, Aunt Kelly and their girls come over for an Easter brunch. After we all ate Sarah, Sophie and Hannah hid Easter eggs while Bethany entertained the boys. Both Brayden and Connor were both all about finding the eggs this year, which was a lot of fun.
Drew led us in the Lord's supper. The boys actually understood what we were doing, which was so sweet.
So excited about all the candy!
Love this picture of Aunt Kelly (affectionately known as "Aunt Telly") and Connor.

We spent most of the afternoon resting, and playing outside (the weather has been beautiful). I enjoyed watching Drew teach Brayden the basics of baseball. I lost track of Connor for about 2 minutes, and rounded the corner of the yard to find him completely stripped and playing in the mud. All a day in the life of a boy mom :)
we tried our hand at egg dying. It actually went pretty well, all things considered
he is such a stinker. Showing me his muscles because he's "SOOOOO STROOOONNNNNG!"
Brayden told me this is his "lion face." ha!
showing off their finished eggs
we're in the process of getting a real tee. In the meantime, we're abusing the Little Tikes.
playing in the mud. Basically a boys dream!

I have a few more thoughts on what inspired me at Blissdom last week, which I hope to hash out on the keyboard later this week. Hope yall have had a blessed Easter!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pirate Night.

Drew and I took the boys to Chick-Fil-A the other night for Pirate Night (this also proves I am officially old, as it was my birthday night and we ended up at CFA to pretend to be pirates). I knew the night would be a hit, but I underestimated just how excited the boys would be. Brayden was especially enthralled with his pirate sword and the fact that there was a "real" pirate there to take pictures with.He kept going up to random people in the restaurant saying "Arggghhhh Maty!" Hilarious.
Connor got free ice cream with toppings. Clearly he is my child.
there was a face painting artist there. I wasn't quite sure if B would want to do it or not, but after seeing a few of the other kids he was all about it. I was SO thankful his preschool teacher was there; she was able to talk him out of the horribly awful 6 eyed pirate face and into something a little less scary.
His first look. When the artist was making the scar on his cheek and she said she was putting blood on there, he was so sure that it was REAL pirates blood. LOL.
With Miss Jenny, one of his MDO teachers. We love her!
with the "real" pirate and his ship
an attempt at a group shot. Not even sure why I try for these. Connor NEVER sits still.

When we got home, Brayden learned that we would have to wash off his face painting. Then his balloon sword popped. It was pretty much pirate meltdown at that point. I did manage to get some better pictures of him as a pirate before the drama started, and that seemed to help some of the meltdown. We promised that he could always look at the pictures of himself as a pirate whenever he wanted. braydenthepirate_adollopofmylife
being a pirate is serious business folks.

We're so grateful for Chick-Fil-A being so family friendly and offering nights like this. It's fun for our family, and definitely helps my sanity.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Love and Marriage: A Blog Series.

There are moments in my life that I feel a gentle nudging to go a little deeper, to do something a bit more, and yet I sit stalled, because I'm not quite sure how to start the engine of progress. That's where I've sat the past several weeks with blogging (if you read my post yesterday, then you probably already knew this). I've felt the nudge to go a little deeper, but I just wasn't quite sure what that meant. Until now.

I'm so, so, so excited to tell you guys that I'll be teaming up with 5 other bloggers to write about love and marriage. Over the month of April, we'll be sharing our stories in hopes that we can be an encouragement to other women. To share that even though marriage can be hard, it can still be good. I feel like this series came at just the right time. Where I was encouraged to write about the hard parts of my story, and where I was at a place where I was willing to do so. I'm not even sure where this series will take you in my story, I just know that I am willing to be vulnerable on my blog when it comes to my marriage, something that until now, I really haven't written in great depths about (not that I've been intentionally leaving marriage out... it's just that sometimes motherhood is easier for me to express my feelings about). I can't wait to go on this journey with these ladies and with you, my readers. I hope that you'll join us each Wednesday as we write about Love and Marriage (does anyone else cue the Married with Children theme song whenever they say "Love and Marriage?" ha!).

We thought it would be fun for you to meet the bloggers that will be collaborating on this series. I don't know about you, but when I look at this list, it makes me even more excited to get started. Hope you'll follow along as we share our stories!
meet the bloggers
marriage bio roses final
marriage bio Shay final
marriage bio jenn final
marriage bio lindsey final
Join us every Wednesday in April for the Love & Marriage Blog Series!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blissdom 2013 {the thoughts and inspirations}.

blissdom2013_adollopofmylife_1There are moments in my life where I sometimes have such a stirring on the inside of me but I'm not even sure what it's for. That's how I felt before I attended Blissdom last week. In many respects I wasn't even sure why I was going. Blogging for me has always been my therapy. I do it because I like to do it, not because I have ambitions to write books, to make lots of money or to boost a photography business that everyone but me wants me to have. When I sat down in the first session, I questioned what I was going to even learn... if anything

I mentioned in my previous Blissdom post that it wasn't so much that I learned new things so much as I was inspired. I probably don't let on to it much, but in many ways I have questioned my truthfulness in my blogging. Not that I am NOT truthful, it's just that sometimes the negative comments to being truthful can make me question why I am so open and vulnerable to begin with (ie: if people are going to give me a hard time about being so open, why am I even open at all). I've tried to shove these thoughts in the back of my mind as I have blogged (especially over the past two years, where there was much in my life going on behind the scenes that I was unable to blog about, but that still impacts me and how I live life), and even though I've tried to shove it all far away, it always came back to nag at me. That maybe I was being too negative. That people wouldn't like the bad parts of my life.

That nagging followed me to Blissdom. And I'm happy to say it left me the minute I heard Lisa Leonard speak. There's lots of talk in blog land about being positive. While I agree with all of it, I also feel that if we completely dismiss the hard parts of our stories, that we can forget the refining moments of our lives. For the past two years I've worried about including the conflict. Worried that if I mentioned that I've been an angry mom, that I have struggled to get used to having two kids, that I have had days that I feel like a complete and utter failure, that somewhere, someone would be upset about it and in the end I'd be a failure for listing my failures. I'm sick of listening to those voices. In real life, away from the blog, I'll tell you if I'm having a crappy day. So my blogging will reflect that. It will reflect me. A me that thinks that even though life is awesome, there's still crappy moments, and yet through it all GOD IS STILL GOOD.

I hope that's what you get when you read my blog. If you don't, then I'm missing what I feel my purpose is in writing. I want to be that mom that comes along side another mom and says "it's OK if you're not OK. This (motherhood) is HARD. But it gets better. Take hope... you'll make it, and you'll be able to look back at even the hard moments and smile." The moms that have stopped me in the store and said that to me-- they're the ones I want to hug. Not the ones who talk about how rosy life is and how they'd love to change a million and one more poopy diapers. The real mom is the mom I want to walk alongside.The real mom is who I want to be. the end I'll continue to share the bad and the ugly along with the good, because quite honestly, I don't want to forget the hard parts of my journey. The hard parts are what make me ME. They are my refining moments. Just like a beautiful piece of pottery is much more interesting if you see the entire journey, so it will be with me. I want you to not only see the shiny, pretty result of the trials (and errors) of my life, but the entire process. I want you to see the mud and the muck so that when it's all washed off, we can enjoy the end together. Blogging is about community. And if conflict builds community, then that is what I want to share.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blissdom 2013 {the pictures}.

Last week I left my home in the early morning hours on Thursday. I was heading to Texas with a local friend to attend what would be our first blogging conference. I was excited, scared and nervous. I wasn't sure what to expect. I was worried that I would be spending money on something that I would end up hating (which is probably one of my greatest fears. Stupid, I know). Thankfully I sit here tonight sifting through notes and pictures, completely overwhelmed by what I just experienced. It. Was. Awesome.

I'm still trying to process what I learned. And I'm not really even sure that learned is the correct word to use. Most of what I heard was not necessarily something that I needed to learn so much as something that I needed to hear. It validated why I blog, and it even confirmed that the way I blog is the way I need to continue to blog. Hopefully I'll expound on that more this week. So while I sit here and sift through thoughts and notes and inspiration, I give you all of the pictures that tell the story between the words.
We stayed at the Gaylord Texan. When we pulled up, Heidi and I both remarked that everything must really be bigger in Texas. The hotel was GINORMOUS. This was the view from our balcony, which overlooked the atrium. This is INSIDE. I wish I had had a wide angle lens to truly capture the awesomeness. Also, I'm not sure I've ever walked so much in my life. I feel like I need a double hip transplant.

These were the girls I roomed with: Becky, (me), Leah and Heidi. I loved rooming with these girls!
the first night there, April took several of us out to dinner. April sells the cutest bows and hair ties and they are extremely affordable. If you have a girl, or like the trendy hair ties that are popular right now, you should definitely check out Polka Dots and Posies. (She didn't ask me to say that. I just did. Because I think she's cool, and I like the stuff she sells). 
(from L to R): me, Heidi, Leah, Megan, Melissa, April, Meredith, Katie and Becky.
the improv group that has produced stars like Amy Poehler and Tina Feh was there. And they were hilarious.

I got to meet a lot of celebrities. Who also happen to be cool too. That's like a double bonus. Or something.
Jon Acuff. If you ever have the chance to hear him speak, or to read his book(s)... do it. You won't regret it. He was SO inspirational and SO SO SO funny. Also, I feel the need to apologize to Heidi, as she was DYING to get a picture with him and I totally photobombed and forgot to get one of just her. I'm sometimes a lousy friend like that. Thank goodness she's forgiving.
Scott Stratten. I'm going to be honest. I had never heard of Scott before the opening keynote. But considering he about made me pee my pants at least 5 times during his keynote speech, I'll go ahead and put on record that I am a fan. Can't wait to read his book.
One of my favorite sessions was Lisa Leonard. She talked about telling your story without apology. It was soothing for me to hear that it's OK to blog about things that aren't pretty. I'm sure I'll write more about this in another post :)
two actors from the show, Suburgatory, came one night. I don't watch that show, and so at first I wasn't that spell bound. And then I realized that the girl (Ana Gasteyer) was someone I had loved from SNL in the 90s. And then I got to take my picture with them. FUN!
all of the Arkansas women bloggers. crazy that so many people in arkansas blog... and these were only the ones that came to the conference!!!

And probably one of my most favorite stories of the weekend.
My friend Melissa and I were talking and I had asked her if she had gotten certain swag items that were being given away. I mentioned that Dr Smiths was giving away a $2500 baby nursery and that she should enter (I had already entered). She didn't even know about the giveaway until that point. So imagine my surprise (and excitement) on the last day, when Heidi came and told me that Melissa had just been told she had won!!!! I was (and still am) SO SO SO excited for her! Honestly, I already have all the nursery stuff I need for Tyler. But Melissa hadn't gotten anything for Brooks' nursery yet, and now she's decked out with the coolest one ever. So. Fun.

Like I said earlier, I'm still sifting through my thoughts. I feel like going to Blissdom was like standing in front of a fire hydrant on full blast, and I was thirsty and dehydrated. It was just what I needed, yet it was overload at the same time. Most importantly though, I felt like I was able to legitimately connect to people that, until last Thursday, I had only known as a twitter name and avatar, or a blog title and words. We were friends that talked every day, but I had never gotten to give them a hug, to talk to over a cup of coffee, or laugh over a hot meal. I got to do all of those things with some of my favorite people in the world. And it ended up being so much better than I had ever dreamed it would be. So I sit here tonight, completely drenched in amazing tidbits of information, and smiling because I am so grateful for the online community that God has so clearly placed me in. For the clear purpose and opportunity He has given me to write my life and connect with others. I love where I am at. And that, my friends, is beautiful.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

30 weeks {a pregnancy update}


How Far Along: 30 weeks, 2 days
Size of baby: 18 inches, 3.2 pounds- about the size of a head of lettuce
Total Weight Gain/Loss: (as of 3/20/13) 24 pounds. Can yall believe I only gained 1 pound in two weeks??? I was really happy with that, especially considering those two weeks were spent not eating well.
 Maternity Clothes: All maternity clothes, except my one black pair of sweatpants (that I wear way too much).
Gender: BOY! Tyler Paul.
Movement: Yes. He is a mover and a shaker. He loves to stretch now too, and will push DOWN on my bladder, and have a foot near my ribs. He's also laying diagonally, so I'm sure the shape of my belly looks WHACK when he's doing this.
Sleep: It's been OK. I didn't sleep that well at Blissdom this past weekend. I think that was more because of the adrenaline of being there combined with sleeping on a hotel mattress.
Symptoms: Lots of aches. Along with a few other things that will remain unmentioned.
What I miss: This may sound vain, but I miss being skinny. This is stated in the weirdest sort of way, because I do LOVE being pregnant. I will miss all of the little kicks and flips of having a baby inside of me; pregnancy is truly an amazing gift. It's just that the extra weight and shape make it more hard to walk everywhere, and to somewhat function normally. I was reminded of this every time I had to walk the entire distance of the Gaylord Texan this past weekend at Blissdom.
Cravings: Sweets, Mexican food. Pretty much anything that's bad for me, I crave. So convenient.
Food Aversions: none, praise Jesus!
Best Moment this week:  I loved, loved, loved Blissdom. I'll be honest, I was a bit nervous going. I wasn't sure what to expect, and worried that I was spending money on something I would hate. But I just loved it. I can't wait to use what I learned and apply it to the blog, and I LOVED getting to me some of my "internet friends". 
What I am looking forward to: As much as I loved my trip to Blissdom, I am glad to be back home with my boys. My heart is my family, and everyone knows it's hard to be apart from your heart for long. So I'm looking forward to spending time with my babies this week, and gearing up for Easter Sunday, one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. If you're looking for some Easter activities to do with your kids that are Christ-centered, be sure to check out my Easter ideas post if you haven't already.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cute, Easy Curls.

(Disclosure: I was compensated for this post by BlogHer. To view my full disclosure statement, you can click HERE.)
I'll admit it. I get hair envy quite frequently. It's not that I don't have good hair, because really, every hair stylist I've ever had raves about my hair. It's just that sometimes I just don't know what to do with my hair. I've gotten so used to just straightening it most days that it's default for me.

One thing that seems to really be in style lately is thick curls. And until today, I didn't even know how to get my hair to do it. I have hot rollers, but not a curling iron. This fact may change after I watched this video on how to make Selena Gomez inspired curls. She makes it look so simple that even I could do it. And if it seems like something I can do, then it's probably something worth trying. Don't be surprised if I'm rocking this 'do for my sisters wedding next month. I thought I'd share the video so that if you're like me, envious of the style without the knowhow to even try it, perhaps it will give you what you need to jump in and try :)

If you watched the video, be sure to check out at the end how you can win $100 or more for watching! Official sweepstakes rules can be found HERE.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Finding Worms

Growing up, I played with all kinds of bugs and creepy crawlers. You could frequently find me outside catching some sort of critter. I firmly believe that God was preparing the way for me to not be freaked out by the many gross things that boys find absolutely amazing. Enter worms.
Last week the boys were enjoying the fabulous new spring-like weather we have had hit our area. Shirtless and shoeless (I've tried with the shoes, and it's a lost cause). And then we found a worm.
The boys (especially Brayden), relished in the squishy squirmy, nasty worm glory that is the Earth Worm.
At first I grossed out.

And then I remembered to just embrace it. So we did.

My hope is that I remember to often stop and relish in these moments. To get past the "nasty". Because even the "nasty" moments are far too fleeting.


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