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Mom Life

Charlie’s 1st Birthday!

Charlie baby is ONE years old! We had a beach ball themed birthday party for him and it was so fun. I was at Mom n Tots camp with Timmy on his actual birthday. Jordan brought Charlie to camp for the day and we were all together to celebrate. We sang to him with cupcakes and let him cover himself in icing. Charlie and I share a birthday so I got a cupcake too. 🙂

Timmy showing Charlie around camp. First stop, the goats!

Jordan took the week off work to have some special bonding time with Charlie while Timmy and I had our special time at Mom N Tots camp.

Birthday cupcake! Yummy!!

Charlie is obsessed with any type of ball…football, soccer ball, baseball, ski ball, beachball. My parents are convinced he is going to be a pitcher for the MLB. They started discussing travel plans for following his team around during their retirement. Haha! Let’s just stick to his first birthday party for now! Since he is a summer baby I thought beachballs would be a fun theme. The colors are bright and happy. Beachballs are inexpensive and I bought various sizes in bulk and hung them. The beachballs have provided tons of fun all summer long. They are all over the backyard and the boys love playing with them. Thankfully our backyard is fenced in or they would blow all over the neighborhood! The real hero is Jordan who blew them all up!

Since I was away the week before the party my mom made most of the food and a lot of it, thanks Mom! I got the tiered dessert trays for my birthday from my in-laws and just in time for the party. I’ve already used them a million times.

I love having this chalkboard and updating it for different occasions and seasons. I wish I had better drawing/handwriting skills but this is the best I can do. 🙂

It was a beautiful summer day. It was so warm outside that we ended up singing and opening gifts inside in the air conditioning. We had about 20 friends and family in attendance and we were so grateful they spent their Sunday afternoon celebrating with us.

I love to scrapbook and I used to make a lot of them before I had the boys. They are time intensive but I do love them so I am going to make one for each one of my children’s first year of life. Every year after that I make a slideshow of the past year for their birthday. I had a bunch of extra photos that didn’t make it into the scrapbook so we put them on display for the party.

A friend from church showed me a picture of something similar that her daughter in law did for her grandchild. I love the idea of creating something fun and special for the child to look back on as a grown up.

My dad insisted on there being one cookie with a smiley face on it because Charlie is always smiling. He calls him “Smiling Charlie”.

I really wanted beachball cookies for the party, more for decoration than for the menu. Can cookies be a decoration? 🙂 I have never worked with royal icing before but I wanted to give it a try to save money on ordering them. My artistic ability isn’t what it needed to be to pull these off but once they were all stacked on a tray you couldn’t tell they weren’t perfect. Beachball cookie decorations – check!

The biggest smash cake ever, thanks mom! And the handsome daddy of the birthday boy.

Charlie was so cute while we sang to him. He had a big smile on his face the entire time. He didn’t get into the smash cake too much. He just licked some of the icing and eventually lost interest. I did not properly prepare Timmy for the party. I didn’t realize it would be so difficult for him to not be the center of attention during the party. He wanted the cake first, to blow out the candle, and to open all the gifts. You can see the pain in his face in the picture above, he really wants to be the one who blows out the birthday candle. Haha! In retrospect, I should have spent more time preparing Timmy better.

Charlie got so many fun toys for his bday. Most of which were appropriately balls!

The birthday boy with Mommy and Daddy!

Charlie LOVED the baby pool full of balls and beachballs that we set up for his party. The boys have been playing with it all summer. It is even more fun when the baby pool is full of water!

A few fun facts about Charlie!

Charlie loves…

  • to smile!
  • playing with his big brother!
  • kicking balls around!
  • to eat!

We are blessed and thankful that Charlie is a part of our family. He has added so much fun and joy to our family. Being baby number two has been pretty special because Charlie has THREE people giving him hugs and kisses every day, telling him he is cute, teaching him words and animal sounds, keeping him away from the stairs, and saying goodnight at bedtime. We will continue to love and encourage him in every stage of his life. We pray he finds his unique gifts and talents and uses them greatly!

Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated with us! We had a great time and I know Charlie did too!

Mom Life

7 Reasons to love “Rent The Runway”

This post contains affiliate links. 

I have rented dresses from Rent the Runway several times and each time I am more convinced that I need to tell everyone about it! It saves me time, money, and space while taking my wardrobe up a notch. In summary I spend less money, and look better – needless to say, my husband is a big fan too! Rent the Runway is officially one of my favorite life hacks and here’s why.

1. Save on closet space.

About a year ago I decided I was done having a ton of clothes in my closet. I want to keep a current and practical wardrobe for my present stage of life. I was tired of having piles and piles of clothes, many of which I wouldn’t miss for months if they didn’t make it through the laundry. It was hard to find outfits, drawer space, and keep my room clean. On top of that I had another closet in the house dedicated to all of my dresses. All of the weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, rehearsal dinners, Christmas parties, New Years Eve events, work conferences etc…so many special occasion dresses! I am tired of storing a million dresses that I will never wear again. With my new goal of having a wardrobe full of quality and not quantity Rent The Runway is perfect! I get to pick out something new that is a current style and I don’t have to store it after the fact.

Over the last 3 years I had two babies and your body goes through a lot of changes during that process. Life doesn’t stop happening and you still need to get dulled up even though its the last thing you feel like doing. It is frustrating to spend money on a dress that you won’t wear again because your body will change. It is also frustrating digging through old things and settling for something not flattering simply because you don’t want to spend the money on something new and then add it to the ever growing collection of clothes in that extra closet. RTR is perfect for those of us in a stage of life where our bodies are changing. Get something that works for you now and send it back!

2. Spend less money.

Remember all those dresses I am storing in the extra closet of my house? How much did I spend on those special occasion dresses?! I usually start at the discount stores looking for a good deal and work my way up to the higher end stores as my desperation to find something increases. With Rent The Runway I spend about half of what I would normally spend on a dress. The dresses from RTR retail for about 10 times the amount I rent them for. Yup, that’s right – I am spending 50% less and wearing a dress that cost 10x what I am renting it for! Check out their selection of designer dresses starting at $30!

3. Save time.

Back to that dress shopping experience I referenced earlier…starting with the discount stores and working my way from one store to the next. That takes time, a lot of time. And it is really hard to do, especially when you have kids! You might be wondering how ordering a dress from Rent The Runway is any different from shopping online which could also solve this problem. Well let me tell you! Dresses are really difficult to purchase without trying them on. The fit seems to be so unique based on each person’s body shape.

The BEST feature of Rent The Runway is the reviews. People post pictures of themselves in the dress along with their weight, height, and measurements and they describe the fit of the dress. This has made all the difference for me and one of the main reasons I am an advocate for Rent The Runway. I get all the benefits of online shopping as well as details about the fit. From the pictures and reviews I am able to gather where the length will hit on me, what size I should order, if the material will hold wrinkles, if the bust is tight, if the dress is itchy, and even the types of compliments the dress receives. The customer pictures and reviews will tell you all you need to know and more, to find the perfect dress for your body type.

4. Dress like a celebrity!

The quality of the dresses on Rent The Runway are beyond anything I’ve ever worn. The dresses retail for hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Besides just feeling cool because I am wearing a designer dress there is an obvious quality to the fabric and fit of the dresses. You can wear a bodycon and feel comfortable because the fabric is so thick that it will hide all the lines and bumps. I rented a lace dress that had a silk slip under it. The slip alone was beautiful and the detail and make of the lace overlay was gorgeous. I feel like a total celebrity in RTR dresses! You can even shop your favorite looks from The Bachelorette at Rent The Runway! I don’t watch that show, but you probably do. 😉

5. Huge selection.

Rent The Runway has a huge selection of dresses and therefore its a one stop shop for any style and occasion. They have casual sundresses and formal gowns. They carry tons of different designers and have options for all four seasons. There’s no need to shop around at various stores or websites. They literally have it all. They also have accessories which are fun to add to a purchase. I once rented a handbag to go with my dress and another time I rented a necklace to match my dress (in picture below). Shop their accessories here!

6. Great customer service!

The first time I rented a dress from Rent The Runway, I woke up to an ice storm on the day the dress was due in the mail. Panicking about the late fees, my husband got in the car to try to make it to the UPS dropbox. He made it the first stop sign at the end of our street and slid right through it and spun out. He walked back to our house and told me there is no way he can make it. I hopped online and chatted with a friendly RTR representative. They confirmed that there was an ice storm in my area, looked up my order and worked with me to determine the soonest possible time I could drop off the dress. They waived the late fee and couldn’t have been more helpful.

Another time I received a handbag with a broken piece on it. Once again, I hopped online and chatted with a RTR representative. We discussed time frames for them overnighting a new one to my door. They were able to have it to me by noon the next day. Pretty impressive! Unfortunately, we were leaving at 9 am the next day for the event so they credited my account for the full amount of the handbag rental. It is comforting knowing that the customer service team is responsive and willing to work with you to solve any issues that may arise. This gives me confidence to continue to rely on RTR!

7. They’ve thought of it all!

You might still have a few doubts. What if I order the wrong size? What if it comes and I hate it? What if the person who previously had it doesn’t return it on time? What if I accidentally damage the dress? RTR has you covered, they’ve thought of it all! When you place the order you can pick two sizes, the back up size is free. Amazing! If one of the two sizes doesn’t fit or you hate it contact them and they will overnight a new style to you. In case something happens with your dress you pick a backup style at check out of any value. There is a $5 insurance fee that gives you peace of mind regarding stains and minor damage. No need to dry clean the item. And you get to keep the hangers!

Have I convinced you yet?!? I hope you try it and love it as much as I do! I get to dress like a super star, spend less money and time. My husband loves it because he thinks I look great in everything I get from Rent The Runway (these high end designers know what they are doing!). So guys click here and try it, you will love it!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.

Faith Mom Life Our Home

Teaching Toddlers the Bible – Tool Kit & Resources

This past fall my husband and I joined a bible study based on the book Kingdom Kids by Tony Evans. At the time I had a 2 year old and a new born. I went into it assuming we were ahead of the game and everything we learned would be good to store away for the future. I assumed none of it would apply to us at this stage because our kids are too young to learn about Christianity. I was wrong. I had two major realizations during that bible study that stuck with me.

1. I must be intentional about handing down my faith to my kids. 

I was under the misconception that because my husband and I are Christians my children would be Christians too. This bible study helped me understand the importance of taking time to teach our children about God, teach them scripture, tell them stories of what God has done in our lives, and openly share our daily walk with them.

It is important for our kids to see us living out our faith and serving God. But more importantly, they need to understand WHY we are living for Christ. I assumed that somehow they would automatically “get it” by observing our lives. I now realize that is naive and unrealistic. As parents, we have a responsibility to be intentional in filling our children’s hearts and minds with God’s truth.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

2. It is NOT too soon to teach my kids about God. 

I thought I would teach my kids about Jesus and scripture later in life when they could fully understand it. We said prayers at bedtime and I thought that was enough for now. During the study I was convicted and realized it is not too soon!

  • If he can recite movie lines then he can recite scripture!
  • If he can learn kids songs then he can learn children’s bible songs!
  • If he loves to read books then we can find an age appropriate devotional!
  • If he can adopt actions and attitudes of tv characters then he can learn the actions and attitudes of people in the bible!

It is my responsibility to teach my kids God’s truth with age appropriate content they can enjoy and understand. It is not enough to rely on the church program they attend once a week. That will reinforce what is being taught by you at home but it will not get the job done.

I have to be intentional about passing on my faith and it is not too soon to start! 

The last several months I’ve been going through various books, cd’s, and videos to find tools for teaching a 3 year old scripture. I am happy with what we are using right now and it has been really effective for teaching Timmy. Hopefully you will find this helpful and easy to implement with your little ones too!

I created a ‘Tool Kit’ that has all the resources we need:

1. CD player and two cd’s.

We received these two books for Timmy’s birthday from Dollar Tree! The cd’s are included in the books. They have all the classic children’s church songs. They are fun and easy to follow versions. I enjoy them too! I bought a few cd’s like this for his Easter basket that were a total fail. These are great! And I found a set of four on Amazon for $2.50! Grab these here, you won’t regret it.

2. ABC Scripture Memory Cards.

I really wanted these! This is the main content I am relying on to teach scripture. I looked through many versions of ‘ABC scripture flash cards’. It was hard to find a set with scripture that wasn’t too lengthy or with words that aren’t too big for a 3 year old. I was about to give up and make my own when I stumbled upon this set from Unoriginal Mom. Read the entire post because she also gives great advice on how to use the cards with your little one. I had them printed and laminated, love them!

3. Chalkboard for writing and reading our memory verses.

I had plans of a DIY chalkboard wall and luckily I stumbled upon this chalkboard at Hobby Lobby on sale for $40. The tin pales are also from Hobby Lobby. The chalkboard is great for writing out scripture as we recite it. This is helping Timmy identify certain letters and words. I used different colors and sizes for the words so he can remember that yellow says, “LORD” and blue says “GOOD”.

4. Age appropriate devotional!

We went through about 3 or 4 devotionals before finding this one. This one is perfect! It is short, holds his attention, and references life scenarios he can relate to. There is one for girls and one for boys! Get it here!

Teaching Timmy scripture is helping me memorize more scripture too! As a result, I don’t get tired of going over the verses with him. What ideas or resources have you used to teach your little ones about God? I would love more ideas!

Faith

Owen Jacob – Welcome to world!

So often in my prayer time I ask God for more…more for my family, more growth for our ministry, more opportunities to expand my reach, more land for our next home…so often I ask for more but God knows what I actually need is less.

The weekend of May 19th was set up to be full of great activities but a very busy one. We had young adult group at our house Friday night, MOPs training Saturday morning, a 2nd birthday party Saturday afternoon, friends visiting from out of town Saturday night, a bake sale at church for the Belize mission trip, a gathering for a missionaries we support, and a girls dinner Sunday night. All fun events with people we love but we definitely over did it with the scheduling and set ourselves up for burn out and melt downs.

Thursday afternoon we got the call that my sister in law was going to the hospital to have her baby! We put the wheels in motion to start passing off all of our responsibilities for the weekend and notifying friends we couldn’t attend. Most of the drive was spent reshuffling things for the weekend. We made it in time to be some of the first family to meet baby Owen late Thursday night!

She looks awesome for just having a baby and look at little Owen testing out his voice!

I can only imagine the fun these three boys will have together over the years.

Friday morning I laid in the sun by the pool while Charlie slept and Jordan pushed Timmy on the swing and I was reminded of the many blessings God had poured over us on this day. It amazes me that God is so intimately aware of every part of our lives; our schedules, lack of sleep, stress, anxiousness etc. As a mom who lives a life of mostly simple daily tasks I can’t believe God cares to show himself in nap schedule, playtime, and family time when he knows I need it.

The peace and stillness of laying in the sun was not something I enjoy often and it was so rejuvenating. God used the blessing of Owen’s birth to interfere with our lives and replace busyness with rest, to replace responsibilities with joyful celebration, and to replace a weekend full of dividing and conquering with togetherness. I’ll never fully understand why the creator of the world cares about such small details of my life but I know it comes from his deep love for us.

My little walker wants to run down the hill like big brother but he still needs momma’s hand to make sure he doesn’t end up face down! lol.

Timmy LOVED Grammy pulling him around in the wagon. Charlie held on tight the entire ride and had an unsure look on his face. lol

Yup, we love him!

Uncle Jordan, Uncle J, Uncle Rowdy? The jury is still out!

How do I look with three?! Haha

The proud big cousin ‘holding’ Owen!

Allie and Ralph are amazing parents already and tag teaming the night time duties like pros! We loved on Owen, played at Grammy and MackPappy’s house, and I went to Michael’s and Target 3 times to get supplies for Owen’s nursery letters. Did you hear my ground breaking news?! Michael’s accepts competitor coupons from AC Moore, Hobby Lobby, and JoAnn Fabrics! How did I not know this?!

Click here for the step by step instructions on these DIY Nursery Letters! They are simple to make and light weight for hanging over the crib.

These three boys have the best grandparents!

The blessings are endless this weekend – the friends who stood in our place to cover our ministry responsibilities, the rejuvenation of a sunny day poolside, the time together as a family, the rest of a simpler schedule, and the one that surpasses them all – Owen Jacob. Our newest little love who is absolutely perfect. Owen baby, we will forever drop everything in our lives and drive 3 hours to be there for you! We love you!

Children really are an interruption but a beautiful interruption full of unthinkable blessings!

Mom Life

Timmy’s Dinosaur Themed Birthday Party

Today I am sharing all the details of Timmy’s Dinosaur Themed Birthday Party. It was so fun to plan and he had such a special day. I’m thankful to our friends and family who came and loved on him for his birthday. Check out this video of his Dinosaur Themed Party!

This is Charlie’s year for a big birthday party since he is turning one this summer. Timmy’s birthday rolled around and I thought it would be fun to have a few of his favorite little friends over to play and celebrate with him. He really wanted a Dinosaur birthday cake which turned this into a themed playdate. Well I couldn’t stop there…I found myself on Oriental Trading with a cart full of dinosaur themed party stuff. Then I started talking menu ideas with my mom and she loves a themed party even more than me, one thing led to another, and we ended up with a full blown birthday party. The guest list remained small and we had a great time celebrating!

I ordered all the party supplies from Oriental Trading. They have tons of cute stuff for a dinosaur themed party. My only complaint about Oriental Trading is they run minimal promotions. I’m on the email list and I’ve been watching their email promotions over the last few months. The best you can hope for is free shipping and once in a blue moon there is a $10 off coupon.

Timmy loved the large cardboard dinosaurs that we put all over the house. He insisted we leave them up. They are heavy so they eventually fell, packing tape didn’t cut it.

Here’s my patient husband blowing up inflatable dinosaurs at 1 am the night before the party.

Party hats, sticker sheets, and cute baby Chars! 🙂

The menu consisted of pulled pork sandwiches, buffalo chicken dip, and dinosaur chicken nuggets for the carnivores. For the herbivores we had fruit, veggies, dinosaur fruit snacks, and dinosaur footprint cookies. My mom made the watermelon and it turned out great. She used marshmallows and olives for the eyes. She also made the cake! She was this creative long before Pinterest ever existed.

I made the dinosaur footprint cookies. On pinterest all the posts I saw said to put the dinosaur footprint in the raw cookie dough and then simply bake them. That did not work for me. When the dough was rising as they baked the footprint disappeared. I ended up putting the footprint in the cookie as soon as they came out of the oven. That worked much better. I used an actual dinosaur toy to make the footprint and then filled it in using a paintbrush and green food coloring.

I found a recipe on Pinterest for Raptor Juice that called for sprite, pineapple juice, lemonade, and a lemon-lime kool aid packet. I went to three stores looking for a lemon-lime kool aid packet and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I substituted the kool aid packet with a pack of lime jello. As expected, this punch was tart which I did not like but Timmy and Jordan loved it. I loved the color of this punch and it looked cute on the drink bar. I warned all of the parents that there was an entire pack of jello in it. #sugaroverload

These strawberries were quick to make and cute for the kids. They made me giggle because I’m not sure they look like dinosaurs?! I’m not really sure what they look like?! Timmy asked me what kind of dinosaur they were…we decided on a triceratops?? Haha.

I ordered a box of dinosaur eggs from Oriental Trading to have an egg hunt for the kids. Jordan and I set up the inflatable dinosaurs all around the back area of our basement and hid eggs for the kids to find. We had the bubble machine going and the kids loved it. We let them go wild down there for a little while and burn off some energy. The large red t-rex was a favorite!

Side note: if you have little ones and you don’t have a bubble machine, you need to get one! They are the best thing ever. I can’t believe I ever stood there with the bubble wand, becoming light headed, as I failed at blowing bubbles for the boys. It makes everything more fun. I get it out all the time. I recommend this one from amazon. I got a huge tub of bubbles from Five Below for $3.

Here’s Charlie showing off his new trick (WALKING) at the party!

He only ate the icing. No fork required for that!

Little brother looking adorable in his dinosaur onesie.

And last but not least, the sweetest and cutest Dad ever. <3

Our Home

DIY Nursery Letters

I love the idea of personalizing my babies room by putting their name on the wall! After ALL of the effort that goes into picking the name it should be on display as a reward for the hours of googling and bargaining that took place! 🙂

These DIY Nursery Letters are easy and inexpensive to make. Making your own nursery letters is half the price of ordering custom letters or buying them at the store. The other great thing about these DIY Nursery Letters is you can customize them to match your child’s room and your decorating style.

The most fun part is picking out the scrapbook paper for the DIY Nursery Letters! I like mixing and matching the prints and colors. I’ve bought A  LOT of scrapbook paper over the years (I love to scrapbook!) and the best selection of scrapbook paper is at Hobby Lobby. Trust me, I’ve shopped for scrapbook paper at all the places and Hobby Lobby wins every time!

The Paper Mache Letters are pretty common and can be found at any of the major craft stores. I buy the 8″ letters which are typically $2.99 each. Michael’s and JoAnn Fabric always have coupons so no need to pay full price! Both retailers have a coupon page that you should check before making any purchases. See current Michael’s coupons HERE and JoAnn Fabric coupons HERE. The scrapbook paper ranges from $0.50-$1.50 based on the type you buy. I bought my x-acto knife a while ago and I have mod podge, craft paint, and foam brushes in my craft supplies. The cost of each DIY Nursery Letter ranges from $3.50-$5.00 depending on the paper you choose and coupons. Purchasing these on Etsy will cost double that.

FIY – this project will work with the regular scrapbook paper and the the thick sparkly specialty paper.

Supplies Needed:

  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Paper Mache Letters
  • Craft Paint
  • (2) Foam Brushes
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Mod Podge

Step 1: Lay the letter on top of the paper and trace the paper mache letter with the x-acto knife. Make sure your x-acto knife is sharp. This will lead to a much easier, quicker, and cleaner cut. Repeat this step for each letter.

Step 2: Lay the paper letters on top of the paper mache letters to clean up the edges. When I cut out the letters by tracing the paper mache letters with the x-acto knife it is never perfect. I then use my x-acto knife and scissors to make sure it is going to fit well on the letters. Look for parts that hang over too far, need to be straightened, or cleaned up.

Step 3: Set aside the paper letters and get ready to paint the paper mache letters. Foam brushes work the best for applying the paint. Paint brushes tend to be streaky. The letters will absorb the paint so I recommend two coats, sometimes three coats, to get nice even coverage. Paint into the middle of the letters to ensure no bare spots will show when you mod podge the paper cut outs to the letters.

Step 4: To attach the paper to the letters you are going to use the mod podge. Get a clean foam brush out and use it to mod podge the letters and then quickly attach the paper letters. Once the paper letters are on then mod podge on top of the paper too. This will seal it and give a glossy finish.

 

These DIY Nursery Letters are light weight and therefore safe to hang over the babies crib. I use command strips to attach these to the wall which is simple and effective.

I loved doing these letters for baby Quinn! You can’t see it in the picture but almost every letter is sparkly. Maybe one day I’ll get to make pink sparkly letters for my house. 🙂

Here are some pictures of other DIY Nursery Letters I’ve made!

Mom Life

Timmy & Charlie: Feb-March 2017

Here’s an update on the Rowdy Routch’s and adventures with Timmy and Charlie. My goal is to write a post like this every month or two so I can look back on how the boys grew.

February was full of days that reached 60+ degrees. It was such a treat and a reminder that it is much easier to entertain little ones when it is nice outside. We snuck in a few days at the park and sometime in the backyard playing in the sandbox and on the swing set.

Jordan worked many long hours during busy season coupled with travel. We missed him a lot and had our bedtime routine via FaceTime many of the evenings. This picture of him at the park with the boys was taken during the only 2 hours we spent with him that week. We are glad he is slowing down at work and home for dinner lately. We are thankful for his work ethic…he’s always hustling whether at home or at the office. He’s the energizer bunny!

Charlie is growing so fast. In the last 2 months he has transitioned from needing to be held by mommy constantly to a little explorer who is gaining independence and curiosity. I used to long for a few minutes to put him down and now I find myself calling for him to come back in the room. Timmy started walking at 9 months and Charlie will be 9 months soon. I realized that Charlie could be running around the house in a few short months. When Timmy started walking the moments of holding him on my lap or hip became few and far between.

I decided about a month ago that everyday I was going to rock Charlie to sleep for his afternoon nap. I really want to be intentional about enjoying this stage. With the second child I can appreciate how quickly it comes and goes. Charlie has been getting a lot of teeth lately. He now has three teeth on top and two on the bottom.

Timmy will be 3 years old in one month. He is becoming his own little person. One of my favorite things lately is holding a conversation with him. I like asking him questions and getting his opinion on things. He can call someone on the phone and chat with them independently without me translating or mediating too much. It is cool to move beyond simple exchanges based on basic needs and encouraging him to share his thoughts and feelings about situations. He still loves all things animals and dinosaurs. We officially quit potty training and will try again this summer. He was getting frustrated and wasn’t making progress. He is really into surprises lately and it doesn’t take much to get him ultra excited. I take every opportunity to create these magical moments over simple things like stickers, ice-cream, or a new book. I love how their excitement level can go from 1 to 10 over simple things, it is one of the best parts about having little ones!

Now that Charlie is a speed crawler and able to maneuver around the room (holding onto furniture) Timmy is anxious for him to become a playmate. Some of Timmy’s favorite phrases lately are, ‘Chase me Charlie!’; ‘Charlie lets explore!’; ‘Charlie come under the table with me.’ It is so cute and I love watching their brotherly bond grow.

That’s the latest on my little loves. The next update may include Timmy’s 3rd birthday and Charlie walking?!?

Our Home

Painted Mason Jars

We made (Pinterest-inspired) painted mason jar centerpieces for my sister-in-law’s baby shower. These painted mason jars are easy to make and look so good. I am obsessed and continued spray painting all the glass items I had in my house. It was mid-February and the temperature was like 65 degrees so thankfully we were able to do them outside.


These are great for shower centerpieces or home decor. After seeing how great they looked, I ended up making some for around my house. Here are the step by step instructions!

Step 1: Start with any clear glass item.

Step 2: Spray paint your base color. Take your time spray painting. It is best to do several light coats otherwise it will be runny and uneven. Patience! Speaking from experience, be aware of the direction the wind is blowing.

Step 3: Put painters tape on the dry jar to protect the areas you want to keep white. Be sure to run your fingers around all the edges of the tape and press it down to avoid paint running under the tape. Putting the tape on straight can be challenging. It helps if you are working with a jar that has markings to use as a guide. When we did the centerpieces the jars had markings and when I did it myself I used a plain jar. It was much more challenging to get straight lines with the plain glass jar.

Step 4: Spray paint the opposite color. Go easy with the spray paint, put it on light, and move slowly. This is the most delicate part of the project because you don’t want the black paint to run down behind the tape onto the white. Now wait for the black paint to dry.

Step 5: Spray paint all the items you own with this awesome gold color until nap time is over!

Step 6: Gently remove the painters tape and you are done! Looks awesome, right?!

Let me know if you try this painted mason jar project. I want to see how yours come out and your end use for them!

Mom Life

Stay-At-Home Mom Hopeful: 4 Steps to Consider

After our second child was born I decided to quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom. Since then several women have told me they have hopes of being a Stay-At-Home mom one day and wanted to know how we were able to make it work financially. In hopes of empowering other families with the freedom to make this choice I am sharing some of the steps we took.

So here it is! Four steps to consider that will help you prepare for being a stay-at-home mom one day. There are certainly many ways to make this happen but here are the steps we took. I hope it helps!

1. Keep your options open.

Motherhood is such a wonderful and exhausting experience. As much as you try to anticipate what it will be like, there is no way to predict how you will feel once you become a mother. Keeping this in mind, the best thing you can do is give yourself options. Continue working full time, working part time, or be a stay-at-home mom
it is hard to predict what the right balance will be for your family until you are living it! My best advice is to put yourself in a position that will make all three a realistic option. This will give you freedom to be the type of mother you want to be and not feel trapped.

Two years before getting pregnant with our first child I intentionally took a job with a small company and planned on making myself a valuable employee to later ask for a more flexible schedule. After having our first son I was able to go back three days a week. Options!

2. Don’t increase your lifestyle with your increased income.

Hopefully as the years pass you and your spouse are in careers that will continue to grow in opportunity and pay. Most people who make more money, spend more money. It’s hard to fight that natural inclination. This vicious cycle stops you from getting ahead or creating a buffer for a lifestyle change later on such as cutting back on hours or going down to one income.

When we were shopping for our first home we mocked up a budget based on my husbands salary only and bought a house we could afford on his salary. We did this to leave room in our finances for me to stop working if I wanted to and if not we would get ahead on paying off our mortgage. That’s a win-win! We also made the commitment to not have car payments. We have an ongoing savings account for a car because we plan to always buy our vehicles with cash. When it was time to buy a kid friendly vehicle we bought a used SUV and paid cash. Our second vehicle is a 2006 Chevy cobalt that has been paid off for like 8 years.

3. Pay off debt ASAP!

It is hard to reach any level of financial freedom until you pay off your debt. The best thing you can do to reach financial freedom for your family is to pay off debt as quickly as possible. We paid off over $100k in debt in 5 years. Before we had children we had two full time incomes and we put every extra penny down on debt. We held our expenses steady for 5 years as our salaries increased. We kept only the bare minimum in the bank for emergencies. Crush that debt immediately and everything will be easier sooner. If you don’t have kids yet you should use this time to pay off credit cards, student loans, car loans etc. This will give you options later. If you already have kids, start now!

4. Get on the same page and stay there. 

Obviously, it is important for you and your spouse to be on the same page when it comes to planning for your future. There needs to be a commitment and dedication from both spouses to create a plan and stick to it. This is not something you can do on your own or figure out when you get there. If you want to have a smooth transition that will not send your family into financial distress, now is the time to get on the same page. It would also be unfair to blindside your partner down the road with your desire to be a stay-at-home mom when your lifestyle is not set up for it. Stress city!

Jordan and I always hoped this would be an option one day. We made it a part of our plan every step of the way. BUT I always told him that we would do the best we could and if it didn’t work I would gladly do what was best for our family. Keep in mind that you need to be gracious towards each other without placing blame or pressure on each other.

People often ask me if I miss working, especially because I loved my job and I was really nervous to give it up. Surprisingly, I do not miss it at all. I feel so free to make my family my first priority and I don’t have to worry about checking my email or stressing over an upcoming meeting. Every now and then when I’m taking my kids to the park or to the museum in the middle of the week I feel guilty like I am playing hooky!

Being a stay-at-home mom is challenging because it forces me to be more selfless and humble. I serve others all day with my needs coming last. It isn’t easy but I consider it a great blessing. It is yet another way that God is molding me and shaping me to be more like Him.

And guys, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my husband has been planning for this long before I was. When he was studying in school and choosing his career path, he didn’t base it on his personal interests, but on a steady career path that would provide for his future wife and kids. He has been putting us above himself before he even knew us. Thank you God for this selfless man!

Staying home with our kids has been a huge blessing for our family and if you desire to be a stay-at-home mom I hope you are able to do it one day too!

Faith

Serving + Young Kids

A friend of mine recently shared this video with me. Francis Chan is challenging parents to keep serving while raising children. He explains that most young adults stop serving after starting a family. It is not hard to figure out why…everything becomes more difficult with children…I mean everything! Things such as showering, going to the grocery store, and doing the dishes let alone serving outside of the home.

I hear what he is saying and our culture is too driven by comfort. Francis Chan is always good about challenging that, which I appreciate. My take away from this video is the only way for your children to fully experience God is to let them be exposed fully to the way you live out your faith. There is no acceptable excuse to “pause” any part of your life for Christ. This certainly looks different for everyone. Not everyone is called to travel the world sharing the gospel. Simply, don’t stop living out your calling for Christ as your phase of life changes.

Sometimes you wake your baby at 5 am to drop the mission team at the airport!

We lead the young adult group at our church which is certainly our calling and our passion. When I was pregnant with Timmy one of the pastors of our church had us over for dinner and encouraged us to keep serving after having our baby. He and his wife shared with us creative ways to continue doing ministry while raising a family. They obviously knew it would get more difficult after kids and as a result many people quit.

Francis Chan talks about “safety”, “protection”, and “gated communities”. I don’t know how much of it is about safety as much as it is about running low on sleep, not being able to find a sitter, and not having enough hands to cross the parking lot with a baby, toddler, and a donation for the food drive. Needless to say, I get it! 😉

I think I was the only person marching in the St. Patty’s Day parade with a stroller. I showed up late and hopped in half way through. Making it happen! lol.

As our family grows and we continue to do ministry the sacrifice necessary to keep serving has increased and it is difficult. BUT when you sacrifice for God it always leads to good because He is good. When you think you have no time, money, or energy left to give God will provide so you can continue to serve. Many times I have been stressed and worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep our ministry going, raise the boys, and keep my sanity but God always comes forth with blessings of rest, helping hands, time, and supplies.

Leading bible study while wearing Charlie. I’m sure I lost cool points with the young adults but you gotta do what you gotta do! 🙂

If you have a young family and are struggling to continue to serve like you did before kids I encourage you to just keep going. Keep showing up, keep putting Christ first, and put your faith in God to take care of all the rest. He will provide for your every need. It will be difficult and the sacrifice will be great but the blessings and eternal impact will be worth it.