September 14, 2016

The One Thing I Am Working On Since Becoming A Mom To A Little Girl

School started a few weeks ago and we were discussing the things that every class talks about at the beginning of the year: classroom rules and procedures. With this comes good old R-E-S-P-E-C-T, as pretty much every classroom rule hinges on this sweet little word. I've always emphasized having respect for teachers, peers, and our school. But this year, a student in my first period class brought up that we should have respect for ourselves. I completely agreed with him and asked him to talk about that a bit more. He said that we shouldn't put ourselves down. He didn't directly say it, but he was trying to say that the way we speak to ourselves is important. In my mind I'm thinking, YES! YES YES YES, KID! You're a genius. Why have I never emphasized respecting ourselves when talking about respect?! 

Anyway, this led to a lot of great discussion about self respect, confidence, growth mindset, and etc. If I am the teacher, then I better be modeling self respect, right? And self respect doesn't just include the things we say out loud, but how we feel about ourselves on the inside. It made me reflect on how I talk to myself, whether in my mind or the things I say out loud. Things like this came to mind: 

1. I'm not qualified for this. 
2. I'm not intelligent enough.
3. My thighs look like tree trunks. 
4. I'm too shy. 
5. Why am I the most awkward person alive? 
6. My arms are huge.
7. I can't get anything right. 

Yada, yada, get the picture. 

But even more important than modeling self respect for my students, is modeling it for my daughter. The way I view myself will teach her how to view herself. 

I can give her all the verbal affirmation in the world, but if I put myself down, then I teach her to do the same. The rest of the world will teach her to have insecurities and tempt her to criticize herself. God forbid that I put gasoline on that fire. I never want her to see me shrinking back in fear or comparing myself to others. 

I dread the day when I will first see the war on her confidence and self-worth waged. And I'm sure it will happen sooner than I think. I am working on how I talk to myself now so that she always has an example of a confident, real woman. 

I never want her to see me critiquing my shape in the mirror with a critical eye. (And sometimes this means not spending as much time getting ready! Sometimes the longer I spend getting ready, the more insecure I am about my appearance. I didn't think it was supposed to work like that!) I don't want to criticize the way God made me, because for one thing, she looks an awful lot like me! I also want her to know that beautiful means a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Plus, constantly criticizing how I look will lead her to think that appearance is the most important thing about a woman. 

I can be real about my weaknesses, but I can talk about them with dignity and acknowledge that Christ's power is made perfect in them. Furthermore, I can be just as real about my strengths, knowing that those too are for the glory of God. 

Being a girl is hard so I am anticipating some of the challenges of raising one. When the world says that she is too this or too that, or not enough this or not enough that, I pray that her own voice will not join in. I pray that she will speak to herself with grace, kindness, and respect. I can only pray this prayer if I am willing to model it myself. 

Trying to snag my iced coffee! 

Moms to girls, if you have any insight in this area, I would love to hear! Thank you for reading my heart. 


September 13, 2016

But First, Coffee

| tee: target | jeans: american eagle | shoes: converse | sunglasses: h&m |

Last weekend my sister came to visit from Indianapolis. It was a full weekend of taking care of Jade, coffee shops, doing Gayle Waters-Waters (youtube personality) impersonations, studying (for her), grading papers (for me), and shopping for cute shirts like this one. Seriously though, how cool does she look in this top? Her style is laid back, casual, sporty, and she can make anything look amazing. Target is killing it with the tshirts, especially in the coffee category (see my last one here). Annnddd, I may or may not have another one coming for ya soon. Call it basic or call it basically a necessity. I choose basically a necessity. ;) 

Thanks for reading! 


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August 27, 2016

I Love You More Than Yesterday And Less Than Tomorrow.

As our JadyBug approaches half a year, I can't believe how fast the months have gone by. For me, the first two months were absolutely the hardest. I had all the head knowledge of how I thought a baby would change everything before Jade came into our lives...but then there was actually bringing her home and experiencing all the changes. The first two months were the hardest as I was physically healing and adjusting to this beautiful, tiny little human and the challenges she brought. Despite talking with lactation consultants, Jade would not latch, so breastfeeding just wasn't working. I exclusively pumped every two hours, day and night, for the first month, and then moved to every 2.5 to 3 hours by the second and third month (that extra half hour was everything!). So there was that, added on with the postpartum emotions that I naively thought I'd miss out on. I'm typically not an extremely emotional person and pregnancy didn't seem to change my emotions too much, so I didn't worry about being an emotional wreck postpartum. And while I wouldn't say that I was quite an emotional wreck, I definitely didn't have the same control over my emotions for a time period. All Brian would have to do is ask me how I was doing and the tears would flow. For no reason. Okay, maybe for being exhausted and for the ongoing breastfeeding battle, but I could never articulate why I was actually crying. Luckily, the crying spells only lasted a few weeks and I began to feel emotionally more like me. Then there was the awkward postpartum body and all the body image issues that come along with that. Those first few months are not for the faint of heart and I certainly underestimated how challenging they would be! 

necklace: The Jones Market

I went back to work for the last four weeks of school when Jade was almost eight weeks, knowing that I would have a few months home with her again in the coming weeks. I got a little taste of what life would be like as a working mom, though it was the end of the school year, so it wasn't as high stress. Plus my mom and mother in law were staying with us and helping out with Jade and housework while Brian and I were at work. When school got out for summer, I randomly tried getting Jade to breastfeed again, after not trying at all since I had gone back to work. I was tired of the fight and getting my hopes up every time I would try, only for nothing to come of it. I don't know why I decided to try again, because she was obviously very used to the bottle. Weirdly enough, she latched and started breastfeeding! And she has been doing it ever since. She was just a few days shy of three months when she started breastfeeding. That's when I felt like I got my life back to *somewhat* normal, or as normal as life can be with a baby! It was amazing not being attached to the pump all the time, finally getting to experience what I always envisioned I would do for my babies, and cutting feeding time in half! 

I felt like everything in those first few months was trial and error, due to having no idea what I was doing! I still feel that way, in a sense, but now I am more comfortable in my role as a mom and have a better sense of what Jade needs. As a first time mom, I was so clueless in those beginning weeks! I guess I'm still clueless about a lot of things, but definitely more confident. I laugh now as I look back and how scared I was of this itty bitty girl!

Jade started smiling at two months and then her personality started oozing out at three months. Discovering her personality is my absolute favorite. While I'm sure many changes to her personality will take place, right now she is an outgoing little girl who always wants to be where the action is. She is happiest when she is around people and isn't often content playing alone. She has the best belly laugh that makes me totally willing to make a fool of myself just to hear it one more time. I will do anything to make her laugh..luckily it doesn't take too much yet! With the exception of those first two months, every other month has been "the best." Maybe I'll be kicking myself for saying that when she's mobile and into everything, but even then, I know there will be so many wonderful things to discover about her at that age and it will also probably be "the best."

She is now going to her sitter's full time since I have gone back to work in the last few weeks. Dropping her off is much more painful for Brian and me than it is for her...she loves going and seeing the other kids. I'm hoping she won't develop that separation anxiety, because I think we will just die having to drop her off if she starts to cry for us.

When I was pregnant so many other mamas would talk to me about the incredible bond that is instantaneous when you hold your child for the first time in the hospital. While that is true, it's somewhat misleading (at least for me). I obviously loved Jade right away (you can read our birth story here and here), but the adjustment hit me like a tidal wave. While there was an initial bond, it's so much stronger now. For me, it's much more accurate to say that the bond you feel with your child will not be instantaneous. It will start like a small flame and then grow more every day. And then, when you think your love is on fire and at capacity, another day rolls around, and you realize your love yesterday was nothing compared to how it is now. I love my girl a zillion times more now than the day she was born...and I'll love her a zillion times more tomorrow. 


“For you see, each day I love you more
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow."  

August 11, 2016

How To Embrace The Slip Dress Trend

It's no doubt that 90's fashion is circulating and one of those trends is the slip dress. If you grew up watching Clueless or Friends, then you know that this trend was frequented by Cher and Rachel Green. 

When it comes to super trendy items, I don't like to spend a lot. Anything super trendy can be in an out in a few short months, so I don't think they are usually worth an investment. I will only try the trends that I really love, or the ones I can see becoming a classic or a wardrobe staple. If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen that I recently scored a black vintage Dior slip for $10.00 at a local consignment shop. It was great because slip dresses are on trend, but $10.00 isn't a pretty penny. I also feel that something black and vintage Dior is worth having in my wardrobe forever.

All that to say that I am trying out the slip dress trend! I've rounded up a few looks that I love to inspire different ways to wear it. 

1. Effortlessly thrown over a graphic tee with booties:

2. Paired with a contrasting turtleneck: 

3. Placed over a classic striped shirt:
4. Used to pattern mix: 
Fashion Grunge

5. Layered under a chunky cardigan and sleek sandals:
 Harper & Harley 

5. With a leather jacket, choker, and sneakers: 
Riches For Rags

6. Accessorized with an oversized clutch and lace-up sandals:

Have you tried out this trend yet? If so, I would love to hear your ideas! Thanks for reading!


August 03, 2016

Fifth Sun Tshirt- "Coffee, Please"

| tee: Target | jeans: American Eagle | bag: Tory Burch (similar) | sunglasses: Miu Miu | similar sandals |

Finally, another style post in the mix. Navigating the waters of dressing the postpartum body is no joke, you guys. Am I even considered PP anymore after almost five months?! I don't know, but the struggle is real to find clothes that look flattering. I don't even have any tips. is usually flattering. So there's that. And baggy t-shirts aren't always flattering, but they sure are comfortable. When I saw this tshirt by Fifth Sun at Target, the pupils in my eyes became little hearts. It says, "Coffee, Please." Something I say on the regular. Coffee is my love language (besides kittens, obviously). I love Fifth Sun tshirts because they remind me of Wildfox tshirts, but are way more budget friendly. I love mixing casual pieces with dressier items, like heels, as I did with this look. I've also worn it with black leggings and also with a sequined skirt. 

You know how else I've worn this tee? With pajama pants. At the crack of dawn with a fussy baby. With (cold) coffee. And let's be honest, that's probably how it will continue to get the most wear. ;) 

Thanks so much for reading!


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August 01, 2016

Vacation: Grand Haven, Michigan

Last week we vacationed up in Grand Haven , Michigan, with my husband's brother and his family. Coming from the southwest part of Ohio and Kentucky, I was kind of oblivious to just how cool of a state Michigan really is. Now that we've been living up in the northwest part of Ohio, we are so close to Michigan and have had more opportunities to discover this beautiful state! Neither our family nor my in-laws had ever been to Grand Haven. We just knew that we wanted to take a vacation (on a budget) together. My SIL did the research and suggested Grand Haven. We all kind of took a chance, not really knowing what to expect, but it definitely didn't disappoint! 

My only regret is that we didn't have longer to spend there. It's really hard for us to get away on the weekends with ministry things, so we drive down Monday night and left Saturday morning, giving us four full days...which were blissful, but definitely not enough time in my opinion! 

I'll start with the beach pictures and then I'll talk about some of our favorite things! We used a windy evening to take some family pictures on the beach. Despite having four young kids (two which are four month old babies!), we were able to get some good shots. 

Brian and I honestly had no expectations for what this vacation would be like. If anything, we knew it would be nice to get away, relax, and be with family. We shared a house and did a fair share of relaxing, sleeping in, and playing games in our pjs. Has anyone ever played the game, Ticket to Ride? We played it for the first time on this trip and loved it! 

We also got to get out and enjoy this cute little beach town. Our house was within walking distance of downtown where there are tons of ice cream shops, cafes, toy stores, and restaurants. The first night we ate at The Kirby House. My SIL and I split the fish tacos and the salmon BLT. The fish tacos were yummy, but the salmon BLT was to die for! I wish I had a picture of it because it was HUGE...definitely worth splitting. 

A little bit farther than downtown is the pier that you can walk down. We took an entire day just to walk down the pier and explore. It was fun to see so many people riding their bikes down the pier, chilling in their hammocks, and jumping into the lake. Next time we go I want to bring a hammock, like an eno or a bear butt, that we can hang on the bridge! 

After we explored the pier, we went back to the downtown strip. Because we were out all day long, we had the chance to try lots of yummy drinks. Pictured here is strawberry basil lemonade and orange lavender lemonade from The Toasted Pickle.  My SIL and I love to each order something we both want to try and then split them so we can try more things! So these lemonades were yummy to sip on while we went into the cute shops on the downtown strip. But the BEST lemonade, the best latte, and the best soft pretzels (my husband, SIL, and I all agreed that these were the best soft pretzels we have ever had!) came from a bakery called, The Baker's Wife. This bakery in Grand Haven is the sister store to a bakery called The Village Baker, located in Spring Lake, which is a nearby town. I was in line at The Baker's Wife to order us some drinks when the girl in front of me ordered a strawberry lavender lemonade and raved about how good it was. I decided to try it and I am now obsessed with this flavor combination! I am already scheming on how I can make lavender and strawberry syrups here at home. 
Strawberry lavender lemonade and macarons from The Baker's Wife. Can you tell we ate a lot?! This picture was actually taken on our way home from vacation...we just had to stop at this place one more time!
Strawberry lavender lattes after a long day at the beach. 

Speaking of the beach, my idea of a vacation always includes the beach. Growing up, we never really filled up our vacations with schedules...we were content to just go to the beach every day. I still feel the same way. :) 

The babies napping in their little tent. 

JadyBug sticking her toes in the sand (swimsuit found here). 

Something else I can't forget to mention is the musical fountain show that they have every night at 10:00. There's a big fountain on the pier that lights up to different songs. It's so cute! We had a wonderful few days. This vacation was the perfect blend of relaxing and adventuring. I honestly feel like we just scratched the surface to discovering Grand Haven. We hope to go back again to experience this cute little beach town and become more acquainted with it. If anyone has ever been and has any tips, definitely let me know! 

Thanks so much for reading!!