Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I'm very happy to be sitting here wracking my brain on what to write for our Christmas blog this year. You see, this is the first year that nothing major has happened in the last six and a half years! No new jobs, we're in our fourth year in our house, no new babies or new vehicles... this year has been relatively uneventful on the "big things" scale and I can't complain. I'll stick with a quick recap of us and then bombard you with family pictures!

Tim has been with Coors for six years now and is helping his dad with his business in Canon City when he can. This summer he got to go backpacking and ride his motorcycle with friends more than he has any other year since we've been married. I think he really enjoyed that time!

Karoline started a pre-k program in the September. She goes to school two days a week for three hours a day. She enjoys the routine and having somewhere to go. She's learning so much so fast. At home we are working our way through 100 learn to read lessons. It is amazing to watch her learn. I know that all the pieces are there. Before I know it she is going to be sounding out words and reading to me! We are in the process of trying to get her into the Classical Academy that our church (Flatirons, it's amazing, join me any time) is starting next fall. 

She's an great big sister. Lately she will help me fold laundry, clean up her room and get her sister ready for the day without being asked. She is such a precious girl and I could go on and on about her. I'll save that for her birthday post, I can't believe she is already 4.5!
 Photo credit: Ashley Beaman Photography

Where to start with Alexandra? I love this thing she does when she's really focusing and stringing sentences together. She gets a really serious look on her face and her voice gets nasaly. I've tried over and over to record her doing it but it must just be meant for me because I have yet to capture it. She's fiercely independent but my snuggle buddy just the same. She's 2.5 and is interested in everything that her sister is doing. Her hair is still super short and I love it. It keeps her looking little for longer! 
 Photo credit: Ashley Beaman Photography

I am still working part-time, from home, for Bolder Band. It's a great fit for where we are in life and I'm thankful to work for such a wonderful company. I have also started watching a little one 1-2 days a week. Her name is Eliza, she's a sweetie and fits in so well when she is with us. We enjoy having her around. This fall I was selected to write as a contributor to the Denver Metro Moms Blog. I would love for you to let me know what you think of my first post about becoming a runner!
Boo at the Zoo
We hope and pray that you are your families are blessed this holiday season. 
Please enjoy our Christmas photos. Courtesy of Ashley Beaman Photography.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 
Luke 2:11

Be Kind

When we talk to our girls and redirect them we often use the phrase, "Be kind." As a true Disney kid I would be lying if I didn't disclose that this came from watching the most recent version of Cinderella.

In the last few weeks my sweet two year old has turned this lesson against me. She has started to pick up on when I am getting stressed or overwhelmed and short with either her or her sister. This is when her tiny little voice will say, "Be kind, Mom." The couple times she has said this I have been so thankful for her brave and simple words. She makes me stop in my tracks, take a breath and laugh a little. She reminds me that I do need to be kind and to take the time to make sure my responses are appropriate.
Come Tuesday night I'm afraid to see what the world of social media will look like in reflection of this years extremely difficult (is difficult the right word? -- it seems to fit) election results. In the words of my two year old, I pray that all will be kind. I hope that all think before we speak and if we don't have anything nice to say we don't say anything at all.

Family {of 4} Pictures

In July we had our first official (by official I mean I bought new clothes and made sure we all color coordinated--even if I did forget Tim's matching grey shorts at home, I digress) family pictures taken since becoming a family of four. Getting pictures done is always a special occasion for me because it means time spent with a very dear person. My photographer for life, Cassie Fortman of Yellow Bird Photography, took our pictures and I can't say enough about them. They are exactly what I was looking for and everything I hoped they would be.

Cassie and I share a birthday month, HELLO SEPTEMBER! She is truly a remarkable photographer and an even better friend. In honor of our birthday month I am asking you to do me a couple  of favors. First favor, if you are in need of new family pictures or event photography save this link to Cassie's site ( and then contact her.

My second favor is that I need your help deciding which photos to use for my photo gallery wall. This wall will be one of the first things you see when you walk into our home and I don't trust myself to get it right. Thank goodness for Pinterest photo layout ideas.

Below each photo I will put a number. Please tell me your favorite number family photo that has all four of us in it. One more second choice photo would be super helpful as well!






Thank you all! 

Running with Intention

I had my hands up above my head (partially relieving a side ache), and happy tears as I finished my run. A run that I didn't want to end.

This was how my day ended yesterday. It was a far cry from how it began.

When my husband is on day shift I wake up with him at 5am. He gets himself ready, I get his coffee and lunch ready. Something I didn't do for about eight months. Then I realized this was time I could have with him and I decided to take those early morning moments with him.

After he leaves I usually go back to bed, read my devotional app (First5 - ladies, it's awesome) and sleep for another hour or so until the girls are up and moving. Yesterday was Amazon Prime day, and I love a good deal. After spending a little time on my phone I had to get the computer. Now, I was up for the day for sure. I had what I wanted in my cart and one item was already sold out and the other wasn't working. I was so irritated with myself for "wasting" time and not getting the sleep I desperately needed (I'm fighting a chest cold brought on by allergies--I want to know why I still have allergies in July).

I heard a little voice saying, "Sister, wake up." I snuck Karoline out of her room with her sister still asleep, despite her attempt to wake her. We sat on the couch together while I decided to give my purchase one more attempt. I had to make that time I spent shopping instead of sleeping or being productive worth it. I did end up getting what I wanted and the morning wasn't a complete loss.

Yesterday was supposed to be spent going to Colorado Springs to see one of my most dear friends new baby boy. With this chest cold and drainage I decided I better keep my germs to myself. There is no way I would have been able to keep that sweet baby out of my hands. I of course would have felt terrible if I passed anything along to him.

I sent out a message to friends to see if anyone would like to join us at our neighborhood pool to try and salvage the day that was no longer going to include cuddling a sweet baby (I can smell that new baby the smell from here).

Two friends and their little girls were able to join us. We had a fine morning, but I was keeping to myself a bit. I did so enjoy their company but something was in the back of my mind. Something that was inhibiting me from feeling like I was completely there and in the moment.

After swimming I got the girls into bed for a nap and quiet time. Then sat down to go through my closet and dresser to get rid of things (I really have been irritated with just how "full" our house feels). While I was going through clothes I sent a text to one of the ladies who met us at the pool and apologized for being grumpy. This sweet friend was so kind and responded that she didn't think I was grumpy, just quiet. She said I didn't have to explain, but she was willing to listen. I have to stop right here and say just how much that text effected me. I appreciated so much the way she worded that. It makes me want to be a better friend who offers to listen. I don't know if she was ready for the can of worms that she opened, but it came pouring out. Up until that point I wasn't sure what was bothering me and had me in such a funk. A funk that was allowing me to feel my day was ruined by wasting time online shopping at 5am. This was my response to her willingness to listen...

"I feel like I can't find contentment. I'm disappointed in myself for having no drive to do or be successful at anything. I always was very involved in lots of activities growing up but never "specialized" in one thing. I can't even get the trim in our house painted and finished or start some projects that I know I want to do. I'm mad that I don't take time for God every day. I don't take time for the girls where they have my undivided attention on a daily basis. I'm a stay at home mom, shouldn't that be easy?"

And this was her response, "It's absolutely not easy. At all. Give yourself grace, it's easier said than done, I know. I'm there a lot, too. Beating myself up for not getting it all done. God is not a God of guilt or overwhelming feelings. That is not from Him."

In her beautiful response I realized two things. First, surrounding yourself with friends who will lift you up and do not commiserate with you or allow you to go down that hole is vital. I'm working on becoming that kind of friend. Second, in our sermon last week I left knowing I need to have more grace for my family and my neighbors. It was a powerful sermon and spoke to my heart (if you have an extra hour, I strongly suggest watching it here). What I failed to realize after receiving the message was I need to give myself the same grace.
Grace. Grace for myself to be content in what it is I have to do in the moment I'm in. The rest of nap time I organized. Just doing something made me feel accomplished. When the girls got up we went to the post office, made dinner, Tim came home, I gave the girls a bath and got them into bed. Earlier in the day I had talked to my aunt about our work outs. We've been encouraging each other in our fitness journey. She told me while she was running she was praying. I loved this idea. I felt like it would give even more meaning to exercising and alone time. It also would help me accomplish something I know I'm lacking, time in prayer and time with God.  I knew I needed time to myself, and even though going for a run at 8:15pm meant I would get into bed later, I went anyway. I didn't walk for near as long as I usually do and started to jog. When I leave my house I start out going uphill. I have learned over my first few days of running that I breath better while running uphill, which is a strange concept to me. Maybe I have to take deeper breathes or something. As I began to run I had a worship song playing and I started to pray. I was naming everyone I was thankful for, when I said their names I prayed that they would be blessed. I was more than a quarter of the way done through my run before I took a break to walk. My break was shorter than normal and I started running again without playing mind games of choosing what land mark I would start running at again. I ran, I prayed. I stopped when I saw a field of weeds. They were weeds, but something about them was intriguing, the lines, the way they moved in the wind. I was thankful for them, thankful for all the things God made.
Close to my cool down and walk point, I put my hands up in the air, out of joy and to relieve my side ache. I had happy tears. I ran, and it was the best run yet, on so many levels.

This morning when I opened my First5 devotional app I was blown away that it completely wrapped up my feelings from yesterday.
"Experiencing more of God often requires us to step away from the normal so we can fully participate  in the exceptional. But that can be hard to do. Even though nothing can compare to being in God's presence, we may find ourselves struggling to let go of our daily routines. To do less so we can experience more of Him. To set aside all that's grabbing our attention so we can completely give our devotion to the Lord." 
"How often do we choose the normal and forfeit the exceptional? And we wonder why we're so exhausted all the time -- feeling spiritually depleted and emotionally dry. Could it be that our sense of loneliness and desire for more community is really a symptom from rushing through our intimate time with the One who matters the most?"

My trim isn't getting painted any time soon, I have lots of things to organize, things I want to do. Things I want to be good at and put time into. This morning I was greeted with a changed heart and a new perspective on all of those wants. I was up early and ready to accomplish things. I read the First5 app, read my devotional, read my bible and then went about my day, already feeling accomplished. 

I pray your day is blessed. 

To the wife who's husband doesn't work normal hours...

To the wife who's husband doesn't work normal hours,

It stinks, doesn't it? Sitting at the table on Saturday morning listening to your kids play, scream and sing, by yourself. Falling asleep with your husband one night, but not the next. Staying up long past being tired so that you can make sure that none of the noises you hear (which are never there when your husband is home) are a threat. Waking up to an empty bed. Getting meals ready at different times every few days to accommodate the ever changing schedule. Finding ways to get out of the house when he is on night shifts or shushing a child all day long. Finding things to keep you busy, because twelve hour shifts are long, too long to be home all day. Asking friends to join you for adventures, but none are available because their husbands are home. Finding it nearly impossible to keep up with housework or do any project of any sort because of the changing schedule and wanting to soak up all of the time that they are home. Not finding time to work out, the changing schedule doesn't allow for a routine. Watching your husband leave and return from work with the same red, tired eyes. Waiting to have important conversations until you know he has had some decent sleep. Not asking for help with the kids because you know he's already had a long day. Going to events, many events, on your own. Celebrating holidays when you can. Doing what you have to do to survive just you and the kids and then transitioning to the dynamic of him being home (a welcome change, but a change). Taking the kids to appointments, on your own. Missing your husband even though you see him every day (for a few hours before he's asleep).

I definitely took for granted the fact that my dad worked from 7am-3pm, Monday-Friday and that my mom's schedule matched his. What a blessing that was.

I recognize that compared to a husband who is deployed, an ever changing schedule is a welcome nuisance.

To my husband, and the all the husbands who also have odd hours, thank you for providing for your family. You are appreciated beyond measure!

To the wives who are reading this, you aren't alone. After living in a bigger city for five years now, I realize that not normal, is normal. Whatever your hours are today, you are strong, we are strong! Through it all we keep our husbands and families afloat. Go us! My children are dressing themselves, I guess they are telling me it's time to figure out what to do to keep us busy today!