When I Became A Mom

MOPs has become a significant portion  of my life in the last 6 months. Aside from investing in my family, church, and whatever work comes my way, MOPs is high priority (and attending meetings, planning, and carrying out tasks takes up a good chunk of time).

I was blessed with an opportunity to share a devotion with our MOPs group this month, and thought it fitting to share here as well.

“When I Became A Mom…”

When I became a Mom, I found myself in a mess.

It’s difficult to say when or where the mess really began, but to sum it up…

  • pre-term labor
  • bed rest (which means no cooking, cleaning or further baby preparations)
  • 24 hour stay in the hospital (an hour away) to be sent home because labor was starting, but not really
  • unknown of the future: we had a date by which we had to leave Korea, but no destination or tickets to go anywhere
  • strain on friend and family relationships

This was all going on in the background, and then the day Maddy arrived…

  • active labor arrived suddenly
  • Mason stayed after work late to play softball (and injured himself)
  • Insurance company was called frantically (2am stateside time) to notify them we were headed to the hospital
  • Int’l Clinic was called (but didn’t tell the Delivery Room…so my doctor was not present.)
  • water broke before we got out of town
  • Mom (our driver) had never driven from our house to the hospital before
  • Timing landed us right in the middle of rush hour traffic trying to get into the capital of Seoul, Korea
  • Upon arriving at the hospital, progress was assessed and I remember the nurse telling me NOT to push, and yelling that they were moving me to the delivery room.

It was pretty crazy, and pretty much a big mess.

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When I looked back at the pictures from the hospital and delivery room that night, I struggled to see the beauty. I actually found that they were more appealing if I converted them to grayscale images. It helped me to find the beauty in the mess.

In the early days of having Maddy home, I found myself in more messes: poop-splosions, projectile vomiting, and trying to breastfeed a newborn baby. Add it all together and it is a recipe for laundry and cleanliness disaster!

Now that our Little Girl is a toddler, I find “toddler trails”. These are not paths, but rather the evidence that my child WAS there! Toys, books, food particles, dress-up clothes, actual clothes, the occasional diaper and shoes, bags and whatever else looked interesting along the way are all spread in the direction from which she came!

Life will be full of messes…big, overwhelming messes. I realize this, and I want to find the beauty in the mess of life, because there is glory to be found!

“If I’m not purposeful to sort out the good and the bad,

I will pass on the good and the bad to those I lead.”

-Jenni Catron, Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence, pg. 46

Clout, by Jenni Catron, is written for those in leadership positions, and motherhood is most certainly a position of influence. As I read Jenni’s statement, I contemplated how whatever mess I am in affects not just me, but my spouse and children as well!

Finding beauty requires wisdom, and wisdom is available to any one of us. In Proverbs 8:17, “Wisdom” promises,

“I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.”

No matter what mess you face…

No matter what mess surrounds you…

No matter what mess threatens to drown you…

take a breath and learn to find beauty in the mess!

Pass on the good you find to your family.

Share.

Rejoice

Be thankful.

Celebrate.

Be purposeful to pass on the good to those you love!

#WorldsToughestJob

 

#WorldsToughestJob

With job expectations, education requirements, and that salary (with no hope of a raise), why would anyone agree to fill this position?

Sunday evening I was sharing that even considering everything I do for our family: keeping the house, planning and cooking meals, taking care of the Little Girl, managing so many nth details, I have no paycheck to show for it. It’s pretty incredible when you ponder this!

I am so thankful for my Mom who took on the #WorldsToughestJob and has worked her hardest at it for several decades now. Thank you, Mom!

 

New Ventures in a Healthy Lifestyle

Team Beachbody Coach

Exercise. Nutrition. Accountability.

All three of these have been a part of my life (some more significant depending on the season), but the three were never aligned in such a way that I felt I had established a balanced, healthy lifestyle. My main health goal for this year was to eat to fuel the body, not to satisfy cravings.

Health Goal:

eat to fuel the body, not so satisfy cravings

 

In March my initial response to my experience with Shakeology and the 21 Day Fix was blogged and I simply continued using the program and drinking my shakes. I have felt such a huge difference in my energy levels, diminished cravings, and even surprised myself by losing a few pounds along with toning down by several inches. Team Beachbody proved to be exactly what I needed to help me achieve a total reset and the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.

If you have any questions or are interested in Shakeology or fitness programs, please email me! I would absolutely love to help you achieve your goals as you steward your healthy life!

FAVE: Kamani Designs Review & Giveaway

See this face? I love this cute face so much.

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The messes this little girl can make are absolutely astounding! Maddy is our first child, so when it comes to mealtime, I very quickly found a few tools that worked, and those that did NOT! Bibs are one of those things that are either major “WIN”s or “FAIL”s (if you are a parent, you know this!). We tried several different bibs, and not surprisingly, the homemade bibs that friends gave us were holding up the best (aside from a decent toddler pocket bib with NO BRAND ON IT!) Needless to say, I have been searching for some good bibs that we can actually put to use around here.

I had a few requirements:2014-03-28 05.45.03auto

  • pocket to catch the mess
  • large enough to cover the “eating area”
  • safe materials to have on my daughter’s body and touching her food
  • well-made for durability

I got desperate at one point and almost purchased a OXO Tot Roll Up Bib or BABYBJORN Soft Bib, but I held out in hopes of not wasting my money on something that wasn’t going to work for us. The Etsy hunt ensued and it took me a bit, but I came across something that appeared unique when Kamani Designs popped up in my search results!

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Kamani Design owner, Lia, was willing to let me test and review a few bibs, so Maddy helped pick out three. Before I tell you about our experience using them, here are the standout features for Kamani Designs products:

  • Safe Fabric: all Snappy Bibs are made with safe fabric that has been tested as lead and phthalate free and is CPSIA approved so it is considered safe for use by children (unlike oilcloth).
  • Ease of Cleaning: Snappy Bibs are very practical to wipe off or hand-wash and they are ready to go again! This is GREAT when you are on the go and need to be able to put that post-mealtime bib back in your diaper bag. The snap-up pocket also un-snaps for thorough cleaning without having to wash every time.
  • Sizes: adjustable neck sizes with 2 snaps make the Snappy Bibs very practical for extended use with your little one.
  • Coverage: unlike other trim bibs, Snappy Bibs are designed with wide shoulders and a full torso with a snap up pocket to catch the mess.
  • Style: not only are Snappy Bibs reversible, but with a variety of bright and colorful fabrics to choose from, you can even mix and match your own favorites to design a custom bib! As well, Lia handcrafts matching Pacifier Clips and Splat Mat/Art Mats. hint-a set would make an incredible baby shower gift!

Our three bibs were put to use immediately when they arrived, and have become fast favorites. Well, Maddy’s favorite is the “pow” (cow) bib that she picked when we ordered. We also chose a “puppel” (purple) one and the third a pretty black, white and yellow print.

package bibs

Upon opening the bibs, I found myself pleasantly surprised when I discovered detailed care instructions as well as a bright and simple guide for how to use the pockets on the Snappy Bib! (Lia has designed a unique fold which keeps the pocket open to “catch” whatever falls.)

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We were packing up to head out of town for the weekend for a family wedding, so we tested these intensely right off the bat. Maddy used one to eat her lunch about 10 minutes before we headed out the door, and it was SO EASY to wipe off with a damp cloth and fold it right up to put in our “go” bag. I was instantly relieved about mealtimes over the weekend (the Snappy Bibs were going to make it so easy)! These bibs truly did make mealtime and clean up a breeze while we were out, and we got tons of compliments on them.

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I really want to emphasize just how convenient these Snappy Bibs have been for me to use, wash, and re-use. The Snappy Pocket Bib works beautifully to catch (and then release) the mess, leaving no food particles stuck in a seam! I haven’t needed more than running water and a quick scrub for the worst of our dried-on messes. (Because, let’s be honest…the mealtime mess doesn’t always get cleaned up immediately around here!) #keepinitreal
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Hanging to dry is only necessary if you wash them under running water. A damp cloth wiping would typically just require a quick dry with a towel.

Hanging to dry is only necessary if you wash them under running water. A damp cloth wiping would typically just require a quick dry with a towel.
pocket collage text
There is not enough positive I can say about our experience with the Snappy Pocket Bibs we chose. Lia is creating great products and I am so proud to support her and share her business with you!

Here’s where you get a chance to try out a Snappy Bib!

Which print will you choose?

Which print will you choose?

Kamani Designs is offering one of YOU a custom  Snappy Pocket Bib. Are you a mother of a toddler? Do you know a mother of a toddler? Follow the link below to enter the giveaway!

CLICK to go to the Entry-Form

Disclosure – Per FTC Regulations, I am disclosing that I received product(s) from the business mentioned above, at a discounted rate, for review. I was in no other way compensated for my review. The views expressed above are my own, honest opinions and any claims should be verified on the sponsor’s site.

snow…snOW…SNOW!

{I always get the song from White Christmas in my head when I say sing the word “snow” to myself!}

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Some people I spoke to did not believe the weather forecast, but I was certain it was really going to happen.

Not that I wanted it to.

I just knew that it would.

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Why?

A year ago we were moving into this wonderful townhouse with the crowd-sourced furniture Mason gathered up (along with our few boxes and suitcases of belongings) and within the first couple days of living here, it had snowed. [read about it here]

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Winter tends to tempt me toward feeling of depression, but thankfully for the last 2 months Mason and I have been regularly exercising together so the barrage of winter storms has barely even phased me. Whereas the other storms have come and gone, my thoughts hardly paying them any mind, this storm halted my emotions and I found myself reflecting on this week just a mere 52 weeks past. Praise God for where he has brought us. Wow!

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It is truly amazing what God can do in a year, and I look forward to another in this beautiful townhouse.

YNAB is Now Free for College Students | YNAB

Did you hear?

 

You Need A Budget is FREE for COLLEGE STUDENTS!

It’s true-there is an AWESOME deal out there for college students right now!

557031_10151005607393703_382475381_nI can’t recommend this software strongly enough, and the fact that YNAB is giving it to college students for FREE just makes me like this company one thousand times more. Yes, one thousand times, which is saying a lot because I already adore them!

This is the tool that helped Mason and I reach our financial and debt-free goals thus far, and it has taken all of the stress and strain out of my budgeting process. It’s just that good! {I talked about YNAB before in this post.}

I know, many of you aren’t college students, so for now the best I can tell you is that if you use my referral link (<–right there) you’ll get $6 off the software. I cannot stress how much it’s WORTH THE MONEY, Y’ALL! If you have any questions about it, just ask and if I can’t answer, I can point you to someone who can!

*Disclaimer-this post includes referral links from which I may receive profit. Use or not, it’s up to you. Thanks!

Crafting Away…

I HATE throwing things away.

There.

I said it. (Is there a support group for people like me? No? Well, that’s probably a good thing because then it would become a group effort in “not-throwing-things-away”. haha!)

I LOVE re-purposing things!

Yep, I am always trying to come up with a new way to use an item, whether it is relocating a piece of furniture in the house, or converting old clothing into new duds.

So, when this happened…

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I knew just what to do!

I had this project pinned on Pinterest for a rainy day, so I searched my boards and 30 minutes of work later, Maddy has a new pair of pj pants!

I used the pink ones in the background as my pattern.

I used the pink ones in the background as my pattern.

Which is perfect, because her cute little self has outgrown several sets of pajamas recently!

What are you crafting these days?

How Well Do You Know Me: Round 2

[following my original "How Well Do You Know Me" post]

If you know me well, you know that I am an artist to my core. Vibrant colors, texture, and beauty ignite my soul. Nature connects me to the Lord in such a dynamic way that words on a page can never parallel. Four winters were spent in college, grieving the four o-clock sunset. Enduring the bitter New England cold left me suffocated, gasping for Spring to arrive. Joy overwhelmed me today as I hung the Little Girl’s diapers out to dry in the sixty-degree breeze!

If you know me well, you know that I adore the warmer weather months (if you couldn’t tell by that last point). My toes long for breathing room and a spa pedicure.

If you know me well, you know that I am black and white. I struggle with gray. BIG-TIME. Yet, life is full of gray. God gave me a husband who helps me with grace, loving fully, and navigating the gray fog that is life sometimes.

If you know me well, you know that I adore ceremony, pomp and circumstance, symbolism, and regalia. Though I don’t need it in my Sunday religion, I love family traditions and my heart yearns to raise ebenezers and altars to honor God in what He has done for us.

My husband knows me well. See, on that last point he has learned well. He is not a ceremonial person. However, he willingly sacrifices his own preferences or desires and creates some ceremony in our life. Most recently that came in the form of a piece of furniture.

This one, in fact! (though we did not pay full price, thank you Target sales!)

See, we accomplished a few debt-free baby steps in recent months and they went by mostly unnoticed other than for me to encourage Mason verbally that we really had saved up our Emergency Fund and that we were oh, so close to paying off the smallest of our debts. Totally aside I had been crushing pretty hard on this cabinet and was searching for a good deal on one, and really hoping to find one used that someone was getting rid of so that I could use it to hold my sewing machine and craft supplies. I was nearly speechless when Mason told me we were getting it as an ebenezer of the Lord’s provision and how I had worked to manage our “Debt-free” efforts to this point.

How well do you know me? Mason knows me and loves me well. I could not ask for a better husband!

 

Recipe: Pasta Vino’s Dressing

We ascended the narrow staircase, our stomachs shouting their request to be fed. I couldn’t quite see where I was going due to the dim, no, non-existent lighting; however, my mentor had told me how good this restaurant was, so my other senses engaged to follow after her in our pursuit of some delicious Italian food.

I honestly have no recollection of the food that day, and it would be several years before I would eat at Pasta Vino’s again, but when I did return, I found a new favorite. This time their staircase is merely a few steps, certainly visible as they have a street-front location. The staff cultivates a calm atmosphere, music gently playing in the background. The painted chairs and tables in varying styles offer an artsy and quaint reprieve from the typical restaurant strewn outside the Main Gate of Osan Air Base. To my knowledge, Pasta Vino’s remains in business, but I wanted to share their house dressing recipe that Mason and came to love.

Pasta Vino’s House Dressing

Makes 4-6 servings (depending on how heavy-handed you are with dressing)

1 Tbsp Sugar

2 Tbsp Soy Sauce

1 Tbsp White Vinegar

1/4 Tbsp Garlic

3 Tbsp Olive Oil

1/2  Tsp Basil

1/2  Tsp Parsley

1/2 Tsp Oregano

1/2 Tsp Pepper

1/8th Crushed Red Pepper (Pasta Vino’s uses the Korean Crushed Kochu Pepper, this does change the flavor some, but in a pinch Crushed Red Pepper will do.)

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together and serve. Store in refrigerator for later use.

Enjoy!

As a reviewers note on Pasta Vino’s, I always had very good service and great food. I highly recommend their Ginger Ale (made fresh) and always get extra garlic bread. ;-)

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