We Did Disney!

Disclaimer: This isn’t a post written by a Disney expert. They pay other people the big bucks for that! Lol

About two weeks ago, my parents took us to Disney World.  Spoiler Alert–It was sensational! (that’s why I have to share this with you all!)


The kids had the best time and it really was “magical.” Initially, I was expecting a good trip, but mostly an exhausting or “heavy” parenting experience. I figured the kids would like it, but us as the parents would “pay” for it with lots of energy lost and missed naps to show for it.

Truly, that wasn’t the case. Our kids were at great ages (6 ,4, and 2) to go and enjoy the parks for the whole day.  We had minimal meltdowns and really just crashed at the end of the night, after having a full day. 


Every day since we have been home, I’ve been asked, “can we go back to Disney World tomorrow” or “can we see Cinderella’s house again?” …I love that my kids are still talking about the trip 2 weeks later. It means it was all a success in my mind!

If I could sum up the 5 best things we did and/or learned from the trip it would be this:

  • We spent 4 nights and 3 days at Disney. That was plenty long for us (being first-timers.) My kids loved all of the parks we went to and their excitement was just as high on day 3 as day 1. Had we done more than 3 days at the speed we were going, I think we would’ve started to drag our feet and really get exhausted. I was really happy with the amount of days we decided to go for.3
  • Disney trips should be well orchestrated. We planned the places we wanted to eat, all of the rides, shows, and parades we wanted to see and made a timeline around the FastPass times we had in the parks. If you aren’t familiar, a FastPass is basically a way to skip the lines for rides/shows. It’s pretty awesome, especially for all the popular rides that everyone likes. Each day we had a schedule because of our meals and FastPasses. We also took advantage of the My Disney Experience App. It gave us wait times for everything at the parks! Our days flowed smoothly and almost effortlessly because we had a plan. 5
  • The food at Disney is good and depending on how long you go and where you stay, consider the dining plan! We had one meal (our last dinner) where the adults thought the food wasn’t that great. We quickly realized that until that point all the food had been so good and we hadn’t even recognized how nice everything had been.7
  • Meeting characters should not be missed (if you have young kids like us!) I wasn’t sure how my girls would feel about meeting a strange person in a life-size costume…and I wondered if after seeing one or two of them, they’d be over it. That was not the case. Especially for my 2-year-old. She could’ve seen Minnie Mouse 17 times and it would’ve been as magical as the first.1
  • Get in the Disney spirit. For you and your kids. Rock the ears, wear the shirts and buy the autograph book (that was one mistake we made-oops.) My biggest observation in the parks was that I’ve never seen so many people (mainly adults) rocking Mickey leggings, backpacks, fanny-packs and shirts and thought how normal and cool they all looked, lol! It truly is its own world! 

Here’s one of my favorite videos from the trip. My middle daughter, Kinsey shouting “Disney World!!” while watching the fireworks from the parking lot. (For years she has disliked fireworks—until Disney haha!) 


“Disney World” from HometownHoneyBlog on Vimeo.

Also, side note: we planned our trip pretty quickly (only about 4 months in advance) and used Be Our Guest Travel Company to help us. Christy was great and so knowledgeable. I highly recommend her to anyone looking for Disney travel help!

Hoping your family has a magical experience soon!



What’s Been Cookin’…Healthy Lifestyle Changes


This post piggybacks on Liz’s last post a little bit. In October, I wrote a post about me being a little bit of an emotional mess when my husband was deployed and how caring for a toddler and newborn drained me.  It took until Nora was 16 weeks old for her to get out of her colic phase. When that happened I had all the praise hands! Anyways, I tried to give myself a lot of GRACE and just make it through. But when that was over, I finally felt like I was ready to be myself again so DunDunDun I started a dreaded exercise program!

To give you some quick background, I was in great shape before I got pregnant with our first daughter, but didn’t exercise during the pregnancy because of all the medications and procedures we endured for IVF. I also had this weird fear that if I did too much I would lose the baby. I know that might sound dumb, but after we were unable to have children for so many years, I was terrified I would do something wrong. Anyways, I put on weight, more than I would like, but had a healthy girl! I never got back to that pre-pregnancy weight and just assumed I never could. So when the second pregnancy started and I gained more weight than I wanted to, I just again accepted this as my new normal.

8 Months Pregnant!

June 2017: 34 Weeks Pregnant!

Enter in social media (Yes sometimes this can be good!). I have a friend from our husbands’ residency program who is a Beach Body coach. She was always making these healthy lifestyle posts about exercise and clean eating and (total HONESTY HERE!) I was always annoyed and frustrated because I was like “I don’t have time for that.” Or “I can’t eat healthy; I’m nursing and always STARVING!” Eventually, Jamie’s posts broke me though and I contacted her.

I signed up for a Beach Body membership and started with a Facebook challenge group doing their 21 Day Fix program and eating plan. It was the first time I’d ever really looked at what I was eating. I always thought I ate healthy, but it wasn’t until I looked at my servings that I realized I needed to take better care of myself! This program was so great for me because it was based on portion containers to measure your food servings. You just have to make sure you are eating all the right things. NO CALORIE counting!!! Ugh, if there is one thing I cannot do it’s counting calories! I know some of you might love that, but it is not my cup of tea.

Portion Containers

Portion Containers

So at the end of November I started the 21 Day Fix program. It was a game changer. I didn’t set out to lose weight. I set out to accomplish a goal. I needed something for myself. I wanted to feel better and just gain energy. I forgot how much I love exercising…ok I don’t love exercising when I’m doing it, I love how I feel after! I did have a little motivating factor too, in that my husband last saw me when I was 3 weeks postpartum. And although I celebrate that body and am truly blessed to have carried 2 babies so far, I knew it wasn’t where I wanted to stay. (We also have our 10 year wedding anniversary this summer and really want to take a trip together!)


August 2017…Pre Deployment & 3 weeks Post Partum


January 2018…Post Deployment

So the 21 day fix program set me off and then I started the new Beach Body program a month ago called 80 Day Obsession. It uses the same portion measuring containers but relies on eating the right things at the right times. And let me tell you, I am eating more calories on this eating plan than I was before I started! It’s just the right foods at the right times!

Meal Plan! 2,000 calories of Good Food!

Meal Plan! 2,000 calories of Good Food!

When I say I’m on a ”diet” my husband hates it because he says it’s just eating right; meaning the way you’re always supposed to be eating. We don’t do anything crazy… stuff like chicken, grilled veggies, salads, and LOTS of EGGS!! 


Veggies & Eggs!!!

Side Note: we had our first date night a couple weeks ago when Liz and her family came to stay with our kiddos overnight (Yes they are SAINTS!!) I let myself have some chocolate cake after dinner and it was delicious! I didn’t go crazy, but we were celebrating being together so I enjoyed it and didn’t let it bring me down.


January 2018 Date Night!

And again, I didn’t set out to lose weight. I hate numbers when it comes to weight because I truly believe you can be a healthy size 14 or size 2. I’ve always struggled with body image and have come to a point where I want to be proud of myself. Not because of what numbers say, but because of the goal I am accomplishing. I really want to build my muscle back and I’ll tell you my secret goal that I haven’t’ shared with anyone…I want to be able to do a back handspring again just like my college cheerleading days haha! It’s been 4 years since I last tried one so we will see how that goes!

Hopefully this post is encouraging to some of you and not something that sounds like I’m bragging. Eating well and exercising really does help your mind as much as your body. I now plan my workouts and eating into my day just like every other activity. Some days I wake up at 5am because I know that’s when I have to get it done (and yes my kiddos interrupt me sometimes and I just deal with it).  I am proud of myself and can’t wait for phase 2 & 3 of the 80 day Obsession program!  There’s a super motivating Happy Hour Podcast I listened to recently about living healthy too! Check it out! Liz and I LOVE Jamie Ivey if you want to check her out!

And lastly, even though Liz and I would love to be workout buddies in the same city, that’s not the case. But, we have fun motivating each other through our Apple Watch Workouts haha!


Happy Eating & Exercising Friends!



What’s Been Cookin’ Part 3

Round 3 of What’s Cookin’ is here! I’m trying something a little different to help meal plan during this season of life, and I love that as our days change, our meal plans and organizing can and will too. What I’ve been doing lately is actually pretty basic, but efficient and handy.

After trying Prep Dish (see previous post), I really liked the idea of having my meals planned and prepped for the whole week. Last year, that plan worked great, especially since David and I were in different cities. I could basically heat up something healthy and delicious for myself that I had already made ahead, instead of eating macaroni and cheese with my kids every night.

Where we are now, I’ve realized, I just need a PLAN!

I feel so much better when I actually do a meal plan for the week. Is anyone else like that? My life all around seems more organized lol, and a lot healthier too!

So right before Christmas I ordered the Skinnytaste meal planner by Gina Homolka. I had already been trying to plan/write out my meals on a scrap piece of paper, and it just wasn’t doing the job.


This planner is great and can be used as little or as in depth as you wish.  I love it because all my planning is in one place and it has a nice, functional layout. I’m a visual person for sure, so its been nice to see my “week” in a table with other areas for a shopping list and weekly goals.


Like I said you can go an extra step and keep track of your calories or points if you’re a weight watchers person. I’m too scatter-brained and forgetful to really keep track of everything I eat all day, but I can really see the benefit of using it, especially with skinnytaste recipes. Gina, does an awesome job of tracking all the points/calories with her recipes for you! Sample from the meal planner below:


I’ve loved using this for the last month and take it with me when I grocery shop now. (No need to have another list or random piece of paper when everything can be in the planner.)

Another bonus is with everything being in one planner, I can easily go back and see what recipes I haven’t made in a while or ones I’ve really liked and should try again.

If you are trying to get into a groove of meal planning/eating healthy, check out this planner!

Also, a few other tidbits that I thought I would share:

  • Follow skinnytaste on Instagram if you don’t already! Right now, Gina is posting weekly meal plans and adding quick “how to” videos of her recipes. I love watching recipe videos and getting inspired that way! Tonight I’m making the stuffed red peppers, because they looked so good in her Instagram feed. 
  • Another cookbook I am really looking forward to trying is called From Freezer to Table. I listened to the authors of this cookbook on Jamie Ivey’s podcast and their recipes sound right up my alley. If I can make something that freezes well and reheats deliciously, I will definitely try it! The cookbook’s reviews are fabulous on Amazon too—that’s a good sign!51uLhNFqDnL._SX409_BO1,204,203,200_
  • Lastly, I am loving my Instant Pot that I got for Christmas! There are so many easy and delicious recipes I’ve made in such a short amount of time, thanks to the amazing Instant Pot. Sweet potatoes, black bean soup (my kids’ favorite), and quinoa bowls to name a few! If you like cooking in the crock-pot or having dinner ready about 3x faster than normal—try the Instant pot!71bN6MCuICL._SL1500_

Happy meal planning friends!


A few Friday thoughts

This week my daughter came home with her weekly homework folder and the new assignment to complete an Acts of Kindness calendar. Each day she is supposed to choose one act of kindness and log what she did on her calendar. She was given a list of 100 different kid ideas ranging from: holding the door open for someone, picking up litter, telling a joke, or volunteering in a soup kitchen.


At first, I thought this “homework” was a little odd. Definitely different from math facts and reading assignments. But then I came to realize, how much I actually loved the homework idea. And what a great way to look at the year ahead.

I had a friend once say that people can never get too many compliments. We often say the negative things before the positive. She put it this way—“If you are thinking something nice, say it.” “If you love someone’s hair, tell them, instead of wishing yours was like that, or letting jealousy creep in.”  A kind word, or simple act goes a long way and it usually makes someone’s day. These words have stuck with me and always will.

If there’s one thing I actually want my first grader to learn, it’s that the little things count. and kindness matters. That small steps can end up making big strides. Serving others is an act of love and small things can make a big difference.


Lately, my husband and I have been exhaustively deliberating over our future. The big job. And honestly, it’s been a draining process—for both of us. After being several days or weeks into this, I have noticed that I think part of the exhaustion for me is all the “attention” or focus I am giving myself. All my brain power has basically been centered on one thing that’s all about me, and I feel like I’ve been frozen.  

And then thankfully this morning, I remembered Macey’s homework. There are little things to be done, even in the midst of uncertainty. And lots of good things are going on around me that I should be thankful and excited about. A huge shout out here to Angie and the safe return of her husband coming home this week from his deployment. My heart could literally burst for them. We love you guys and are so happy for your family!


(Not our finest picture-but the shirts are just too good not to share with y’all!)


One of my favorite lyrics in a song I’m loving lately is, “You are my best thought by day or by night”  and when I think of the Lord and where he has brought us, the peace He gives that no one else can, and the acts of love and kindness that can be done in His name–my heart swells and feels like its really beating again. He’s my best thought, through it all. (song here)

If you want some first grade homework lol, what’s a small act of kindness you could do today? A small kindness which could probably make someone’s day along with yours better!

Happy Friday friends!



Favorite Baby Essentials

Well it’s only taken me a month to write this post, but I got it done LOL!

So with our second daughter born a few months ago, we pretty much had everything we needed in terms of baby gear. I got a few little extras (like a double stroller!) but other than that we were good to go! I thought I would share some of my favorite everyday items that you definitely don’t have to have, but sure do make life a whole lot more convenient!

Diaper Dekor
Dekor Plus Hands-Free Diaper Pail, White


Ok, like I said you don’t NEED a diaper pail, but they are super convenient! I actually have one at my house, my parent’s house, and in-laws’ house haha! I love how sleek and simple this one is because you can use it as a regular garbage as well! It uses less plastic than other diaper pails, they have regular plastic and biodegradable bags, AND they offer cloth diapering bags that fit inside if you choose to go that route! I only lasted 3 months with the cloth diapers, but oh well!

OXO Wipe Dispenser
OXO Tot Perfect Pull Wipes Dispenser


This is my husband’s favorite! He HATES normal plastic wipe dispensers because he’s always shaking the wipes out and pulls out more than he wants! This thing has a weight that allows you to remove one at a time! Again, simple and sleek looking so you can use it for doggie paw wipes when you’re done with kids!


Swaddles have been Liz and my jam in the infant phase! Our moms think our kids look like they are in strait jackets but they work! I use different ones for different ages.

Nuroo: This was great for the newborn stage! Thin, super soft material; easy to use with no zippers or Velcro! Great for hot temperatures or if you only want a thin layer over baby! They work as a sleep sack too when you don’t want to swaddle anymore!

Nuroo The Swaddler One Size For All Babies From Preemie to 9 Months- Goodnight Stars


Halo Sleepsack Swaddle: I like these ones for the the 2-5 month age. I can wrap my babes super tight in these (safely of course!) They sell just the zip up wearable blanket for when your babes are done swaddling.

HALO SleepSack 100% Cotton Swaddle, Cream, Small


Summer Infant Wrap Sack: These are nice for the 1-2 month stage. I think after that I like the Halo ones. Again, pretty easy to use and wrap your little ones up tightly!

Summer Infant SwaddleMe WrapSack Blanket, Transport, Small

wrapsackLittle Lotus Swaddle: I came across this brand when I was pregnant and LOVE their company mission! These swaddles and wearable blankets are a little more expensive but for good reason (I waited for a deal before I bought one). First, “Little Lotus products feature Outlast® technology first developed for NASA spacesuits. The special proprietary fabric draws away excess heat when babies get too warm, and releases it when they start to cool down. It keeps your baby at an ideal temperature in a safe and comfortable way and fewer temperature fluctuations means better sleep.” Second, “With every Little Lotus product you purchase, they will donate proceeds to save a baby in the developing world with the Embrace incubator.” So it’s a win-win! You get an AWESOME product and help save babies! Score!

Little Lotus


Love to Dream Swaddle UP 50/50: This was a new one I found because my daughter was breaking out of the swaddle at 4 months no matter how tightly I wrapped her. I like how this version lets them keep their hands up and then you easily transition by removing one sleeve at a time! It looks so funny though, haha!

Love to Dream Swaddle UP 50/50, Gray, Medium, 13-18.5 lbs


Bottle Rack & Bottle Warmer

I use a bottle rack every single day for all my pumping supplies and bottles. My favorite is this one:
Munchkin High Capacity Drying Rack, White


The bottle warmer is definitely a convenience thing but it really does help when you’re quickly trying to warm a bottle! I’ve used two and have liked both!
Munchkin High Speed Bottle Warmer, Orange/White, 1 Count

bottle warmer

Sound Machines

I’m kind of obsessed with sound machines. My husband says “you couldn’t hear a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant” with how many sound machines I have LOL! Excuse my Christmas Vacation reference. We have one in every room of the house! My two favorite ones are these:

Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural Sound Machine, White


myBaby SoundSpa White Noise Machine, Plays 6 Soothing Sounds, Adjustable Volume Control, Lightweight, Perfect for Travel, Baby Soother, MYB-S205


Infant Optics Video Monitor
Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor with Interchangeable Optical Lens


This has been the only video monitor I’ve ever tried and since I have been happy with it I have to recommend it! I did not want a Wifi monitor that I had to check on my phone so if you want Wifi this is not the one for you. I like that you can add up to 4 cameras (we currently have two) and how it automatically cycles between cameras every 5 seconds. You can leave the video part on or turn it off. It definitely lasts! We’ve been using ours for over two and a half years so to me it was worth every penny!

Overall it just comes down to preference. Use what makes you and your baby happy! Hope this helps even in a small way for you and your family!



*I did not receive any compensation for these recommendations. These are my personal preferences. 

December Favorites

Its been a while since I’ve posted about the things I’ve been loving, and it seems like there are so many things lately–so here’s a long over due favorite things post! 

Christmas Advent Devotional-So we are only 3 days into this Christmas devotional and I’ll be beyond impressed if we can do this everyday, or make it past day 7–but so far my kids are really liking it. The introduction is written so beautifully and also comically for parents. It’s a gentle reminder that the devotional isn’t meant to get you brownie points with God, or make you and your family start a tradition that just becomes a burden and stressful.  With wise words the authors say, “Let it serve you and your family; don’t serve it.” Maybe we’ll do it everyday or maybe forget and also just do it a handful of times–either way I love the way it’s laid out and the words written within!


Stuffed Acorn Squash- This is a Skinnytaste recipe that I recently found on Instagram that is hands down one of our favorite dinner recipes now. I have made this almost every other week since I discovered it and it’s so so so delicious. At first, the combination of squash with a turkey chili seemed kind of odd to me- but the flavors go together so nicely. Also this meal is low cal and very filling. We always have leftovers that heat up really well. Try it-I promise you’ll be impressed. 


(Photo credit- Skinnytaste.com) 

Can of Sangria-Now I know this will lead you to believe that I’m super classy (jk) but I’ve been really liking my wine in a can lately, lol. This flipflop Fizzy Sangria is so tasty. I usually get it at Kroger for a great deal and it is one of our favorite sangrias now–with the perfect amount of fizz!048b359e-6305-480a-bef2-9451d6c1cbed_1.e7e0e76b143033deb88a51cc108b34b4

Athleta pants– I’ve been a huge fan of Athleta for a while now but the prices are a little high for my liking typically. As a birthday present though I used a gift card and let myself splurge on a new pair of skinny jeans (I got them in the grey wash.) They are now the most comfortable pair of jeans I own! They stretch easily and are made of a really nice and soft material. They also have tall sizes at Athleta which is another reason why I love their clothing. 


Norwex body cloth– Some of my friends have had a few Norwex Facebook parties and over the years I’ve tried their different cleaning cloths and really like them. If you haven’t heard of Norwex is, its definitely something to look in to–especially if you are trying to limit chemicals in your home or want to save money on cleaning supplies. Anyways, the most recent product I received was a body cloth. With just warm water, I’ve been using the cloth at night to clean my face and take off my make-up. It works so well! Eliminating the strong make-up removers that have always left my face a little irritated and using the cloth with only warm water makes my face feel perfectly clean. eb831adcc7e3458e2f6fd16749fcda4db550418a

Amazon Music-I’m probably behind with this favorite thing, but I recently just started using Amazon Music and I’m in love. After trying a free trial of Apple Music I thought I’d be disappointed to switch and try Amazon–but I was wrong. The music selection is just as good and the price is definitely lower. The kids are really liking the different stations you can play like, “Holidays for Kids” and “Disney Favorites.” And I like being able to add and download songs to a playlist while I go on a run or am driving in the car.  IMG-7294

Bridgewater Sweet Grace Candle- This is my absolute favorite candle of all time, and if you know about my love for candles or as my husband likes to call it, “my candle habit” then you know that I have a lot of candles to choose from. I also love that each candle sold by Bridgewater provides 3 meals for orphans overseas through the Light-A-Candle-Feed-A-Child-Program. This candle smells so amazing and I would burn it everyday if I had a life-time supply!  


Goodreads- This is another thing that a lot of people are probably already using and loving, but its also surprising the number of people I’ve talked to who don’t know about Goodreads and love to read and get good book recommendations. This year has been a fun year for me to get back into reading for enjoyment and I love using the Goodreads app. For me, my favorite thing about it is keeping track of what I want to read (instead of keeping a paper list) and also seeing what my friends are reading and loving. Goodreads also recommends books you might like and does giveaways for free books that they know are on your want to read list. I love this app! 


Tea tree shampooFor someone with a dry and itchy scalp, this shampoo has changed my hair and skin drastically in just a few uses. Having sensitive skin, I can see a remarkable difference and also I like that tea tree oil has a lot of other beneficial qualities–for hair thinning and lice prevention. (In our house we all use lice prevention hair products since we get frequent notifications about it being present in the kids’ schools–ugh!)


Hope your December is off to a great start!



Its the little things, really.

I love this time of year. With back to back holidays approaching, time with family and friends and lots of traditions to be had—it’s an exciting time!

With all the preparation and things to look forward to though, I’ve noticed lately a trend about myself. What I’m learning is that I do a really good job of “holding my breath” in a sense. Making it to the next “big event” in life. Anyone else feel like this? Just make it to vacation next month. Make it to Thanksgiving break. Focus on the wedding, that’s 9 months away. Look forward to the new job…

For me, it’s easy to pick a date and wish away the time in between so that I can get to the next goal or thrilling moment. This has become some what natural for my heart and mindset–especially being married in the medical world.

For our family, it’s interview season (not for more school or residencies but for an ACTUAL job in the summer.) The potential to move again, and the excitement of the next phase—which we’ve been waiting for since my husband started medical school is just right around the corner now.


In medicine, there are lots of milestones to cross before you get to the finish line- and its easy to set your brain in the mode of “making it to that next phase.”

Go to med school. Take Step exams. Pass exams. Apply for residency. Finish med school. Move. Start residency. Take roughly 546 exams, including board certification exams. Pass all exams. Move again (if you are like us.) Interview for real jobs. Finish residency. Move again.

That’s basically been the flow of life for the last 10 years.

But thankfully, by the goodness of several friendships and some small and sometimes large nudges on my heart, I’ve been reminded that I have got to find a way to enjoy the present, the unknowns, and the savor the journey. To really show up for the small things going on in my life. To remember the small moments are just as meaningful as the big ones.

I started a study with a friend, and I feel like the timing could not be more perfect with how life feels right now. Melanie Shankle’s, Church of the Small Things. This study is such a sweet reminder about how being faithful in the small things is just as important as the big ones. 

“A life isn’t made from one thing, one big moment, or one huge success. It’s created moment by moment, often with pieces that don’t look like anything beautiful on their own but are the very fabric of who God meant for us to become as we pack lunches, raise kids, love our neighbors, and simply be who he created us to be; nothing more, nothing less.”  -Melanie Shankle, Church of the Small Things

With the holidays approaching and also a lens of valuing the small moments, this month, as a family we are writing down on a pumpkin something each day we are grateful for. And while explaining the “rules” to my girls before we started, I told them they would need to think of something different each day and also something that was specific to that day. It’s a harder exercise than expected and I’ve been challenged to think of something small and special about my day that I’m grateful for too.


Gratitude is a huge character trait I wish to instill in my children, and I also know that for them to see gratitude in action, it’s going to demonstrated and taught best through the thankfulness they see in me.

Gratitude is a small thing.

A small thing that I can do everyday to enjoy the present and also see the hidden beauty in serving and loving those around us. Today, I’m thankful my girls woke up (relatively) happy. That we got to school in one piece. That I could to kiss and hug everyone before they buzzed off. That my lunch packing was a notch down from panic mode. And that my dishwasher got emptied before 3pm. 

It’s the little things, really. 

I can hold my breath waiting on the big job or the graduation that is now 229 days away. I can place my thoughts on the next best thing or big event. Or I can focus on the daily things, try not to miss them– and let the Father use those small everyday pieces to build up my life. 



When Life Hands You Lemons…You Just Survive

Ok y’all! I’m BAAACK! Well kind of! I am slowly trying to crawl out of the rock I’ve been living under for the last few months! I swear, having a baby throws you for a loop! So I guess that’s where I will begin! We welcomed our second daughter, Nora Ann on July 25th!


She was 3 days late, but actually the timing was perfect! My doctor was working in the hospital that day and my mother-in-law had come to stay with us just a couple of days earlier! So when I went into labor we were able to just leave Elaina at our house with her, and focus on Nora’s delivery. I started having contractions at 3am, and around 6am, I told Austin we should head to the hospital. I got my epidural at 9am and was ready to push by 3pm. And Nora entered the world at 3:23pm! I seriously thought she was a boy with how different the pregnancy was, but of course I was wrong! So now we have two daughters and it seriously is so sweet to see Elaina want to love her sister…most of the time haha!

IMG_2142 IMG_1917-Edit

The following days after Nora was born, life was kind of rough. I had a post-epidural headache (WHICH TOTALLY SUCKS by the way!) that would not go away and you’re basically supposed to just lay flat for your spine to heal (which I wasn’t doing because I am too type-A and can’t sit still). Finally, my husband dosed me with LOADS of caffeine as a last resort before we were going to go back to the doctor for a blood patch and the headache finally went away. In the middle of the whole headache ordeal, we found out my husband was getting deployed…supposedly 1 week later! All I can say is that I flipped a lid.

It just all hit me hard… I was hormonal, I was tired, Elaina wasn’t sleeping and of course neither was the baby, and I was scared for my husband to be shipped off halfway around the world. We kind of knew the deployment was coming. But the crazy part was the timing–the idea of him leaving a week after having our 2nd baby. I know so many of you awesome military mamas who do this deployment thing regularly, but this was our first go around and like I said, I wasn’t in the best mental state after having just given birth!


Well, I’ve seen over and over again in my life how God works everything out, even in the midst of what seems like the end of the world. The military was able to push my husband’s deployment back a couple of weeks. This extra time allowed us to spend more time together as a family of 4 and also to travel back to Ohio, so the girls and I could stay with my parents for a couple months. 

We headed this way so we could have some help during the whole newborn stage especially with a toddler running around. And even though my parents work during the day (and sadly most weekends) I have them here for the evenings! It’s awesome to spend time with family that we don’t really get to see! We are also traveling to Texas in a couple of weeks to spend time with my in-laws until Christmas.



Some days are good and some are bad. I have to be honest, I cry about 90% of those days, and Elaina always asks “Why you sad Mommy?” I simply tell her I miss Daddy. So now every time I cry she thinks it’s because I miss Daddy haha! We are doing our best to keep busy…maybe too busy. We’re going to bible study, Elaina is doing a Child’s Day Out here and I even got her in swim lessons every day of the week! I don’t know what I was thinking, but oh well! We are pushing through and I am really trying not to wish this time away. It’s hard because I want it to go fast and I want my husband back. I seriously miss him like crazy. But I also know I will miss this time with family and the newborn phase…even though Nora is rough (Unfortunately, I think she may be colicky).


I’m trying to get used to this whole 2 kid thing which is harder than I thought and I feel like every spare moment, I’m wiping a butt, cleaning up puke, or sitting next to one of them to get them back to sleep. Like I said, I don’t want to wish it all away, but I’m feeling pretty drained. My prayer is for God to give me the strength I need for one more day…which he always does. I know he is faithful and that doesn’t mean He promises life will be easy, but He always provides. So overall I’m going to try to keep writing when I have a moment to sit, but it will probably not be very much in the next few months. Liz is my lifeline again and she is truly a treasure to me; she’s always encouraging and just there when I need it! So until next time my friends!




Living in Love

Is anyone else a little speechless with everything that’s been going on the last few weeks? It’s hard to post about the silly or simple things when we live in a world that often times is dark and weary. 

I’m not an expert on politics or solving the world’s problems, but what I’ve been thinking of during the last few weeks is how precious life really is and how I can make my mark. Making a conscience decision about how to live my life–in this moment. Especially when its fleeting and often times unexpectedly different than we thought.

What really leaves an impact? What moves people? What truly inspires people down to their core? It’s cliche, but I’m pretty confident about the answer. An answer that is simple to say, but incredibly hard to deliver. And in my little bubble of a world currently–it can be a struggle. LOVE.

This is a struggle (living a life of love) especially when I’m parenting my sweet and often times not so sweet children. The children that we will send off into the world one day.

Has anyone else seen the ugly, defeated and not-so-lovely parts of themselves while parenting? It should be easy right? It the midst of the world’s craziness, I should be able to parent and have control over at least one important thing right? However, in my reality, this is not true.

My day is filled with moments where I can snap in an instant if I choose. Situations where I can use ugly words and unruly authority to “make things right.” Sometimes throughout the day I don’t recognize myself. 

Ugh, it is a real battle. What I want to be as a parent is often times the opposite of what I look like. 

I know that my biggest calling and responsibility in this phase of life is to love the little people in my house and show them what an unconditional love looks like. And to be honest-some days I’m really bad at it. Teaching and showing my girls the Lord and planting seeds deep in their hearts to experience love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control is my true desire. And then watching them hopefully love others that way.


I’m not trying to do this perfectly by any means and/or be a cookie cutter mom. And as a family we struggle–aka, my children are not angels, and as you can see-I can be a hot mess. But, I’m trying to remember the big picture (loving well) and letting that lead me through the ins and outs of my day. 


In a world with so many unknowns- I want my kids to be sure that they are known. Their worth, identity and hope is in something greater than this chaotic world. 

Sometimes, I think about my kids 20 years from now and wonder what parenting will be like. I know it will look different and the dynamics will most definitely have changed. (No more wiping butts-haha!) But I’m hoping that a few things will be the same with my parenting. I’m hoping my girls will see I’m not perfect. That I need grace and lots of patience each day. That my strength doesn’t come from myself. That my hope doesn’t come from this world. That I’m still working on being the best mom for them. And that love never leaves them–from me or from God. 

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16

And that’s what I’m focusing on as the momma of crazy-little ones at the moment, when the world seems shaky around me. Living in love. Making waves and changes in hearts by relying on the love God has for us. (Even when I’m ready to pull my hair out and have this silly girl style it, lol!)






Recipes To Try This Fall


It’s time to bust out the crock pot and soup recipes, because it’s finally feeling like Fall around here!

I’ve been on a huge Pinterest kick the last few weeks–going back and making old recipes I love along with trying new ones that look easy and delicious. I usually try to find recipes that don’t require a crazy amount of prep time and can either cook all day in a crock pot or come together within 20 minutes in a pot. Check them out below– they are perfectly fitting for the fall weather ahead! 

Also–I’m guessing most of you know this, but ya’ll have heard of crock pot liners right?! They are a game-changer for crock pot clean-up and I personally think they make the food even tastier (less burnt, or over cooked!) Give them a try with some of these recipes below–you’ll become a fan if you aren’t already!81LGyU2aZ3L._SX522_

Easy One Pot Lasagna Soup- I love lasagna, and was worried that this recipe would be disappointing-but it wasn’t!  It was easy and totally delicious! There were way less dishes with this recipe than making a normal lasagna and also less cheese-if you are more dairy sensitive or watching your calories. You literally dump everything into one pot and let it cook for 30 minutes–it was so easy!Lasagna-soup-main1

(Photo credit: carlsbadcravings.com)

Delicious Turkey Chili Recipe- I’ve been following blogger, Sazan Hendrix since I heard her on The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey- and I just think she is so fun and sweet. I came across her chili recipe and decided to try it because it used ground turkey and it also called for spices instead of using a chili packet (nothing wrong with the packets–just wanted something a little different.) Anyways, her recipe was easy and turned out great! It’s on the leaner and healthier side of chili recipes-which is awesome! We are big chili people in this house and I’ve made this multiple times in the last 2 months. 


(Photo credit: sazan.me

Easy Pulled Pork- My mom has been making this for years and its the easiest recipe around! 3 ingredients in the crock pot: onion, a can of Coke, and BBQ sauce. That’s it! The pork turns out wonderful each time. I made this last week for our family and a friend and it’s always a hit. (This is a similar recipe to one we use.) 


(Photo credit: thefrugalgirls.com

Cheesy Potato Soup- The recipe is always a winner and is the laziest (lol) version of a potato soup out there–but so good! It’s great with different toppings and is pretty low-cost! Great for taking to a party!


(Photo credit: worthyoftheprize.blogspot.com)

All of these recipes are awesome as leftovers and make a ton! Hoping this gives you some new and different ideas as you head into Fall!