3.13.2017

Simple Moments



Little Man's first time at the beach.





Good Morning.


I have more shots of my kids running away than I can count!





This was probably the only time in my life I wished we had dogs - these two were beauties!


We took some time to smell the flowers...


... and rest our heads' on Papa's shoulder.



We gave each of our kids a special necklace to remember their beach trip by.


(Putting a necklace on a 17 months old is harder than it looks ha!)

3.12.2017

Book Review - Now:Purposeful Steps Toward a More Abundant Life



I have received a free copy of Now: Purposeful Steps Toward a More Abundant Life in exchange for my honest review.

It's been a while since I've updated on here. We've been in hibernation most of this winter, snuggling on the couch in front of the fireplace, reading books, watching movies, and simply enjoying each others company undistracted. What a wonderful feeling this has been. But now spring is in the air and thus, we are stirring again.

During those cozy winter months, I have had the pleasure of reading "Now: Purposeful Steps Toward a More Abundant Life" by Sarah Coller. Sarah is a beautiful mother of nine and writer over at Classicalhomemaking.com, where she shares about homemaking, literature, and her wonderful family. Please head over to her site, you will find so much hope there.

And for anyone looking for encouragement to a fulfilling life, author Sarah shares her practical guidance on living a satisfying life through the focus on God. Stepping into the first chapter, Sarah opens with a spiritual experience she encountered a couple of years ago. At once honest and realistic, Now: Purposeful Steps to a More Abundant Life had me nod in awe to the wisdom she is sharing with her readers. Living purposefully by centering on our Lord God, is the core focus to our own happiness and well-being. The steps she approaches in her book, together with the "Pray and Respond" section at the end of each chapter help the reader to focus on their own reflection and growth.



Filled with personal experiences and encouragements that had me relate to Sarah on so many levels, as a mom, as a writer, as a sister in Christ, Now: Purposeful Steps to a More Abundant Life, is a book written as a devotional and quick to read. You can choose to read it from cover to cover in one sitting, a chapter each day or - as I did -  a couple of chapters at a time to help internalize her wisdom and support. I pray that you will find as much encouragement in her book as I have, you will not be disappointed.

You can find Sarah on her website at www.classicalhomemaking.com, where she also hosts a weekly Classical Homemaking Party, and on social media, among others on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

1.09.2017

Birthing E


Because last month my first born turned four years old, I feel I should finally share her birth story. I have written and rewritten her day so many times, never fully satisfied that it captures all my feelings and emotions adequately. As it is with every birth story, there is a bit of a rawness to it. And a touch of oversharing perhaps. I tried and failed miserably at keeping this short, so with a smile, I'll say 'consider yourself warned'.

My husband's cousin and I were pregnant a week apart and throughout our pregnancies the whole family was joking we'd have our babies in the same place at the same time. The morning she was induced, I waddled across the hospital parking lot slower than usual. It was a Friday morning, just past 9 o'clock - and I stopped by on my way to work for a visit with her. Despite all the excitement going on about a soon to be here baby cousin, I felt an ache deep down in my belly that was distinct and noticeable,
In the course of the morning at work, the low ache decidedly made its way up my spine, centering on my back. Now there was a distinguished hot tingling beginning from my back and wrapping itself around my belly. I decided it might be good to head home early, after all, it was a Friday afternoon and I still had an hour long drive ahead of me. Just long enough to time the ache with the digital clock on my car radio {An hour long drive, so first-time mom-ish.  Ha!}.


Somewhere on my way home, I had turned a specific kind of restless and upon pulling in the driveway I decided it was time to clean the house - laundry, bathrooms, floors and all. Nesting kicked in worse than it had ever before. I completed my list of chores and because my back was still hurting, I drew myself a hot bath in hopes of it soothing the pain as it had always done before. 

Feeling finished with the bath about as promptly as I had sat down in the tub, I dried myself off and laid down on our bed, stopwatch in one hand, paper and pen in the other. A few minutes into timing I grew restless. And as our home slowly lost all its light to the night falling in, the pain kept me from laying still for too long.


JC had been keeping up with his cousin, and so far no news of a baby had reached us as of yet. We decided to head to the hospital to join her and the family for the waiting. And we took our own bags, just.in.case. 

And since I'm boring myself, I will spare you the long details of hours in the waiting room for Baby Cousin, during which I waited for a break in my own contractions long enough to run {litterally} to the bathroom to throw up. My Aunt-in-law graciously joined me, holding back my hair and drying my tears while I sobbed wishing my own mother would live closer to support me during this time. I knew I wasn't too far from giving birth now, but I still tried to convince myself that labor was not underway yet. I was only concerned about this being Sam's day and not about the fact that the low back ache I felt this morning had continuously manifested itself to real, now uncomfortable, contractions.

I was outnumbered all to one and we finally signed in, during which our Baby Cousin was born.


The moments in the monitoring room are a blur, my water broke {just about midnight then} immediately followed by an intense contraction {I cried} and a - in my eyes - not very encouraging  PA {2 cm and a "you've got hours to go, Honey"} and skip right on into the delivery room, which happened to be next door to where Sam was in recovery. Our own private joke of we'll be having our babies in adjoining rooms was actually happening. 
There are more details to laboring {it really hurts} and a nurse's "let me check you" {please hurry} and an "I have to push" {don't push yet, let me get the doctor} followed by lights coming down, an encouraging husband {what a blessing} and an aunt turned birthing coach {like mother like daughter}. 

It was intense but it felt so focused and good. And then a final roar coupled with the most intense toe curling push, she was here. A mere hour and a half after the modest gush of when my water had broken on the cot in the monitoring room. Everyone said ten pushes and she was out. I didn't count. We had done it. I had done it. A baby girl created so beautifully and perfect in God's own image, she was here nestled on my chest while the doctor stitched up some tears. 


The next morning we moved to the mother and child floor. Sam and her family were already up there. We spent the remainder of our stay visiting each other and being visited by family and friends. The doctors and nurses already knew if we weren't in our room, we'd be in the other. It was quite funny actually. What was even funnier, was finding out hospital door securities do work, as we were pushing e back to our room in her sterile clear hospital bassinet.


And then it was time to return home. The first few weeks at home with her were incredibly wonderful and painful at the same time. I was obsessed with her tiny feet and oftentimes found myself just staring at her sleeping little self {which I still do to this day}. But it was also painful because I hadn't considered my own recovery with the tears that had needed stitching and the swelling. Don't get me wrong the focus naturally and rightfully is all about the tiny human being and all the joy they bring. But as much preparation, as I had done prior to her birth, I had naively never fully thought about my own recovery. That said, recovering from j was much more pleasant.

I will leave with that and I hope we'll one day be able to add a couple more members to our crew. If you've made it this far, thank you so much for reading. I'm very glad you did.



You may also be interested in: Birthing J

12.24.2016

Let all your hearts...



... prepare for Him. We've been humming merry tunes over here and I'm also taking some much needed time to focus on family these days. Follow along on Insta to check in with us. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

12.23.2016

Simple Food: Holiday Butter Cookies


If you've seen my Instagram lately, you know we've been baking up a storm in this house. Whisks are whirling, spoons are spinning, peppermint is filling the air, and honey has been melting on our tongues. Mouthwatering scents of fresh out of the oven cookies suffuse our home as of late. Baking has been such a joy, especially now that e is getting older and can join in on the fun.

I've had a few requests for recipes that we've been baking and here is one of them. This one is done pretty fast and easy for kids to help with. e loved using the cookie cutters {which kid doesn't ha!}. And parents - these beauties are great coffee dunkers. Just sayin'. 


Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

500g all-purpose {unbleached} flour
2 sticks unsalted butter - in pieces
200g sugar {I prefer pure cane sugar}
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
1 lemon - zested and juiced
1 tip of a knife ground cinnamon

Icing:
1 egg yolk
sprinkles of your choice, coarse salt, or chopped almonds

Directions:

1. Combine Flour, sugar, and butter in a bowl
2. Make a groove in the center and add eggs, vanilla flavoring, cinnamon, as well as lemon juice and zest. 
3. Start kneading. I encourage doing this by hand, not with a machine. 
When done, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 Minutes. 
4. Pre-heat oven 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick
And now the fun part - begin cookie cutting.
6. Bake about 10 Minutes, let cool 2 Minutes on the baking sheet, then cool completely on a wire rack. 


7. When completely cool, brush egg yolk on the tops of the cookies and cover with desired sprinkles.