Sunday, May 30, 2010


This kid looks awfully cute in a sombrero!! :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dancing in the Arms of God...

This morning after doing a little quiet time, I picked up my copy of Dancing in the Arms of God that's been in my collection of books for more than 10 years. I haven't read it yet, but thought it looked good. I opened the cover and found this note written by my mom back when I was in the midst of my "dark days" -

"Dear Jessica,

How I love you! This book is for you to read when you are ready. Before you do, read Matthew 13 and evaluate where you might fit in the parables.

You are a gift from God and we love you with that everlasting love that never changes and is unconditional. As Abraham was asked to put Isaac on the alter before God, so He has asked us to do that with you. You are His to do with as He sees best remembering that He is the provider and is full of goodness no matter what the circumstances.

No, I am not pushing - I am letting go...I trust in Him for your best.

In His love,



With tear-stained cheeks and puffy eyes, I turned to the first chapter in this book this morning and began reading. The author, Connie Neal, describes a picture of herself as a young girl. She's all dressed up with a beautiful dress, perfect blonde hair in pig tails with bows, sitting in an alley amongst several garbage cans. She related it to how in life, our circumstances can look like big piles of garbage and that anyone else looking at this picture might only see that - the garbage - BUT our God loves us and sees US, not just our garbage. He sees His beautiful creation and longs to scoop us out of our circumstances and into a meaningful and deep relationship with Him.

I am so thankful that back in 2000 my mom saw past my "garbage" and focused in on the little girl who wanted so badly to be free, but just didn't know how. She prayed diligently and sought the Lord on my behalf for many years before I finally decided that I wanted better for my life and asked for better from God Himself.

As much as I pray against this kind of journey for my own kids, should they ever need to walk their own way for God to truly get a hold of their hearts I only hope I have the wisdom to spend more time on my knees in prayer for them than anywhere else. And I pray that I will always see them like God my mom saw me...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

One Year Old!!!

Owen is 1!

How can they go from this... this in one year?

Our sweet Owen Garrett is so perfectly suited for our family. The other night Hailey asked me, "Mom, did you pick Owen and me?" I told her that God picked them for us because they knew they were the perfect ones for us. :)

Here are a few fun facts about the birthday boy -

*Words - Although he can say "Mama", he prefers "Dada", "Nana", "Baba" or "Rara". Sometimes I feel a little sorry for myself, but the "Mama"s I do get are just more sweet.

*Food - He's eating all people food now...well, people food without wheat in it, that is. His favorites are bananas (he eats a whole one by himself every morning!), Trader Joe's gluten-free toaster waffles, and his newly discovered favorite - peanut butter! Oh, and he practically eats his own weight in Kix daily. :)

*Sleep - He takes 2 really good naps each day. One in the morning from about 9-11 and one in the afternoon from about 1-4. He sleeps at night from 7 pm-7:30 am most mornings. Thankfully he's over this before 6 am wake up habit he had last week!

*Play - He's loving several of his new toys that he got for his birthday. Currently, his faves are his Sounders soccer ball, this little workbench that makes sounds, and his Little People parking garage. The parking garage, however, gets pushed around for practice walking more than driven on.

*Movin' around - Todd was very determined to get Owen walking by his 1st B-day, but one thing we're learning about Owen is that you can't make him do ANYTHING he doesn't want to! (Wait...where would he get that from?? ;) He crawls faster than Hailey ever did and is perfectly content with that for now. He did take a few steps the other day, though. I think the walking is coming.

*Babyproofing - When Hailey became mobile, we put those cabinet protectors under the sink in the kitchen (since we store cleaning supplies and stuff under there) and put outlet covers on less than half of the outlets in our house. We said "no touch" once to her and she pretty much didn't think anything about it. Her brother, on the other hand, is into EVERYTHING! Must be a boy thing... :)

*How big? - His one year appointment isn't until next week, so I don't have any official stats, but I think he weighs just under 20 pounds and is probably about 30 inches. He's still kind of little for his age, but look at his sister. She's never been out of the 10th percentile for weight!

You're so special to us, Owen Garrett! We love you so much and thank God daily for picking you for our family! Happy Birthday!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

We sure love this kid...

I am overwhelmed at the love there is for my son. We celebrated his first birthday today with lots of our family and a few friends and there was no shortage of joy in our home.

The most joy-filled one of all was this boy...Here are a few pics of the party...thanks for taking these, Christy! You're the best. :)

Here he is! All naked and ready for his CAKE! :)

After making Owen a special wheat-free cake, all he ate was the frosting. ;)

This is my favorite picture of the whole day. You can actually hear him yelling! This, of course, came about 15 minutes after the cake eating started...right as the sugar kicked in.

This boy was SPOILED when it came to the birthday gift portion of the day! Everyone was so generous...I was in shock.

I hope you always know how loved you are, my sweet boy.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Birthday Banner!

Here are some instructions for a do-it-yourself birthday banner! Firstly, you need a paper cutter, a bunch of letter size cardstock, a ruler, a utility knife and cutting board, ribbon, and those little sticky things that people use for scrapbooking. ;)First off, you cut all of the paper in half width-wise. Then, using a ruler, find the center of the paper and mark it at one end, like so...
Then you line up one corner and the center point on your paper cutter and make a perfect triangle shape...
Once you've done this with all of the paper, you can mix and match and decide what paper will be layered with what. I'd advise that the smaller triangles be some sort of cute print, but I wasn't thinking straight at the paper store, so I made due...

I then cut off about 2 inches of the tops of all of my small triangle pieces.
Then I used those little sticky scrapbooking squares I mentioned earlier to attach the pieces...

Next, you use that trusty utility knife (very carefully, of course) and cut a slit just a bit longer than the width of your ribbon. You may also want to score the back side of the paper just so it's easier to slide the ribbon through...

Then, slide the ribbon through like so. Keep in mind that you will want to decide at this step how you want your banner to look - one long banner or several smaller ones tied together like mine.
When cutting the ends of the ribbon, I made sure I left it extra long since I wasn't sure how each one would hang on the wall. I then picked my favorite font and typed the message I wanted on the banner in Word and printed it. Then I just cut the letters out and, again, used my sticky scrapbooking squares to attach them like so...
When hanging the banner, I laid it out on the table and tied all 3 strings together at one end and hung it on the wall. Then I messed with the letters and slid them around on the ribbon so they'd be positioned how I wanted them and then tied the other end.

Voila! There's my birthday banner tutorial!

Or birthday "bammer" as Hailey's been calling it... :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Okay, summer...we're ready!!

Target, you've sucked us in once could we resist this cute suit and pool towel??

Now anytime these monsoon rain storms want to stop, we're ready to lay out in the SUN and not the living room... :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring Spruce-Up...the Final Chapter!

Here is my collection of newly covered pillows! I wish I could say that I made them myself, but alas...I don't sew...yet.

My dear sweet Mrs. Howard made them for me for $2/each and I got the fabric 35% off, so it was quite the deal. The best part? All of these pillow covers have zippers and are washable.

I love how these new modern fabrics made it feel so bright and comfy in our family room. :)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Adventures in Single-Parenting...

First off, let me just say that I realize that this is like, my 4th blog post of the day. Can you tell my husband is gone and I'm a little lonely?? :)

So, Todd's been gone since early Thursday morning and we've done our best to stay busy. We went to the Supermall and Joann Fabrics on Thursday, had a very fun zoo day on Friday and then braved the grocery store right before dinner with both of my kids. Not smart. Owen was OVER the grocery cart after about 12 seconds and proceeded to arch his back and squeal through the whole store. Think I'm exaggerating? You are welcome to ask the lovely elderly woman who put her hand on my shoulder in the cheese aisle and said, "You sure have your hands full, don't you dear." Yup. I do, thanks.

Today was a new day, so I tried to stay positive and make plans to get out and about. I picked up Mom Yost and we all headed to Ikea for a couple of rolls of paper for Hailey's easel. Two rolls of paper, two picture frames, a faux plant, 3 blue vases, 5 Swedish meatballs and a surprise for Owen's birthday later and we were done with that shopping trip. How do you say no to lunch at Ikea when it's a "kids eat free" weekend?? :) All was good up until the bedding section and Owen was ready to go. And he meant it.

We finally got home and both kids went down for a nap. Life was good. Then they woke up, and seemed fairly happy! Yay!! How about another outing? A few errands, dinner at Panera Bread, and Hailey's promised trip to Target. We were optimistic.

Half-way through dinner Hailey has to pee. Keep in mind that we have our dinner strewn about all over our table, Owen is getting fidgety, and I have to load up both kids and hurry to the bathroom. When we get there, Hailey has numero dos. And she is all in a tizzy because while we're all in the stall Owen won't close his eyes. Seriously?? Well, we successfully made it out of the bathroom in one piece with washed hands and headed to bus our table. Wrong move. My boy was furious with me when I put him back into the high chair. Somewhere between that and putting him in the red Target cart sent him OVER THE EDGE.

I tried everything, but he was NOT happy. This, of course, helped me make the executive decision that our Target trip needed to wait. The boy was in hysterics at this point. This, in turn, produced a very devastated girl who made it her mission to cry louder than her brother all the way to the car. At this point, I was THAT mom. People were staring. Awesome.

The crying continued and became louder and louder all the way home. I considered pulling over just so I could join in the hysterics, but my practical side won this battle when I remembered that the sooner that we were home, the sooner it would stop.

Needless to say, I'm exhausted and miss my husband immensely. It's especially weird not to be on and off the phone with him all day long. I can't wait until tomorrow night.

(Lisa, if you're reading this, you're my hero. I don't know how you do this 4 days a week!! :)

Spring Spruce-Up...part 3...sort of...

This will only officially be a part of my "Spring Spruce-Up" once they are hung on the wall, but since Todd isn't home to do it, I had to post these pictures. I LOVE them.I love these images of my sweet babies' complete trust in their father. I wish I was always this trusting of my own Father...

Spring Spruce-Up...part 2.

Part 2 of my "Spring Spruce-Up" involved re-styling my bookcase. I learned about that here.

The first thing I did was go to Ikea (gotta love it there) and picked up a few this round lamp and glass vases. That lamp will brighten up this dark corner of the living room as soon as I pick up the right bulb for it. :)Nothing new here...just re-purposed some other picture frames I already had.
Here's my favorite view...why, you ask?
This "faux" houseplant I also got at Ikea. Lord knows I could never keep a real plant alive, so I go for the "faux" variety... :)
There you have it! A newly styled bookcase...complete with kid-friendly items at the bottom. :)
Stay tuned...more to come. :)

Spring Spruce-Up...part 1

So, since my front room has felt a little dark and cave-like for the past several months, I decided to do a little "Spring Spruce-Up". Step 1 - put buttons on these sad brown pillows. (They had brown buttons on them, but they've all fallen off and most of them are lost. How sad.)One trip to the fabric store and a little button-making session later and voila!! :)Did you catch that? I MADE these!! And sewed them on with some gigantic upholstery needles. I know, I'm so crafty...
I made 2 of each button and put one of each on the pillows. That way I can switch up what button you see.
And here's a preview of part 2 of my "Spring Spruce-Up"...aren't you excited??? :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Never too young for a little pampering...

Hails and I went on a date for Mother's Day and got our finger and toenails done. It was a blast!Here's Hailey relaxing after the taxing task of having a mani/pedi.

I absolutely love that Hailey is at the age that we can go on a date together and have actual conversation. She's so much fun!!

My favorite Hailey quote of the day: "Mom, my toenails are GORGEOUS!! Do little kids say gorgeous?"

Little kids with adult vocabularies do... :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Body is a Temple...

30 days ago I started dieting and exercising regularly. I've currently lost 17 lbs in 30 days. A few people have been interested in what I've done, so I thought I'd share...

Firstly, I've struggled with my weight for years. I've done every diet imaginable. I've lost, gained, lost, had babies, and so on. About 3 months ago I started really asking the Lord to give me the desire to do the work, and eventually He did. It started from the inside out.

Once I had the desire, I went to see my family doctor. I was diagnosed with insulin resistance about 4 years ago and he helped me get set up with a colleague in his office who does nutritional counseling. He showed me that what I had to do was give up anything with a high glycemic index (or in layman's terms, anything that causes a spike in my blood sugar). The most obvious culprits are sugar, white flour, white potatoes and white rice. The not-so-obvious ones are things like corn and bananas. He gave me a list of what to eat and how much and sent me on my way.

I have one serving of whole grain a day, one small serving of low-fat dairy, all the good veggies I can eat and 4 servings of lean protein. What's worked best for me is a protein shake for breakfast, a snack, a protein bar and veggie for lunch, another snack, and then a dinner that my family will chicken, roasted veggies and brown rice.

I'm also exercising most days. I'll admit, I've been a slacker for about 4 days while trying to get rid of this pesky cold, but most days I do a 45-minute Hip Hop Abs video that I have. Make fun if you will, but I start sweating about 6 minutes in and the first several days I could barely move! :)

Tonight, for the first time since I started, I gave myself grace and had a "free meal", if you will. I had a chicken stuffed tortilla meal from the Cheesecake Factory. I allowed myself to eat about a third of it and then made myself wait about 20 minutes to eat any more. After 20 minutes I wasn't hungry anymore, so I was done eating. Todd and I got a piece of cheesecake to share, but I had 2 bites and gave the rest to him. Now I'm downing the water like it's going out of style so I don't have a "sugar hangover" in the morning! I'd rather be up all night peeing than wake up with a headache... ;)

I have a long way to go (37 lbs, to be exact) until I'm at the ideal weight for my height, but I've set "mini-goals" along the way. For instance, after losing my first 9 lbs I was at my "pre-Owen" weight. Now I'm 1 lb away from being the lowest since having Hailey. I have another 10 lbs to be the weight I was at Christy's wedding. Another 12 lbs after that, I'll be at my pre-Hailey weight, which was the lowest I'd been at since my own wedding. 5 lbs later, I'll be at my wedding weight and then 10 lbs to my ultimate goal. I will celebrate each milestone, because it's all about baby steps, people!

Now that I've written this out there's no turning back, right?? Nothing like blogging to create accountability. :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

We love you, Miss Hannigan!!!

This was me...

...all weekend.

We've had a house full of sickies, including Mama. I hate how impatient and grouchy I was all weekend. I promise you, though, I never called my kids "little pig droppings" once! Maybe Todd, but not the kids. ;)

Oh, day, I guess. I only pray I get through another day of sickness in my house with more grace. Thank you, Lord, for new mercies this morning!