12.07.2017

2017 Christmas Letter



Hello!

I hope this letter finds you well! We had a busy year with quite a few ups and downs! As I sit and reflect, there were a lot of lessons learned and a lot of healing that took place. This wasn't the easiest of years, but overall we count it a blessing!

In march, Brenton was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He had surgery to remove his thyroid as well as 28 lymph nodes on the right side of his neck. He then had to do radioactive iodine treatment to kill the remaining cancer in his body. We struggled for a while to get his medication right after this and he battled through some anxiety, but he is finally in a good place again! Praise Jesus! He has been hunting a lot this fall, which he absolutely loves. He is still waiting on the big buck. Work is going really well. He is still with Farm Bureau.

We traveled a lot this year! In April, Brenton and I went on a Caribbean cruise with his work. This was a much needed get away right after the cancer diagnosis! In June, we traveled with the whole family to Maine. My aunt owns a cabin there so this was a nice, slow paced vacation! In July, we took Isaiah to Disneyland with Brenton's company. My brother lives in California so we got to see him as well. My mom also decided to join us for part of this trip which was a blast! At the end of July, Brenton went to Canada for a fishing trip and in August I went to Waco for a girls weekend!

I started the year off a little rocky as well. After having Norah in November 2016, I struggled with postpartum depression. It took a while for that fog to clear. I was able to focus on fitness and getting in shape for our cruise in April. This inspired my entire year and encouraged my weight loss journey! In October, I ran my first half marathon! I'm still a stay-at-home mom and I love it. I have decided to set my graphic design career aside and focus on my kids. I'm actually really excited and relieved by this decision. I'm ready for what 2018 has for me!

Isaiah is quickly approaching 3. He is a sweet, sweet boy who loves tractors, robots, and PJ Masks. He is very aware of his surroundings and asks a lot of questions. It's so fun watching him grow!

Norah just turned 1 in November! She loves music and loves to dance. She has picked up a lot of the sign language we have taught her and will eat just about anything. Norah can be incredibly sweet and just as spicy. She is just about to start walking and is saying a few words. She is our little bug.

We are excited to start another year and we welcome it with open arms! We feel so grateful for our friends and family that gathered around us during the tough times this year and who celebrated with us during the good times. Now, more than ever, we know the value of community and that God designed us for it. But we are most grateful for the love of our Savior, Jesus. It's the reason we celebrate this time of year!

So, Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

12.05.2017

What I Learned | Fall 2017


Recently, my friend and mentor suggested I listen to a podcast by a woman named Emily P. Freeman. I was listening to it as it was my turn to drive on our way home from Wisconsin this past weekend. I found myself pressing play over and over again. I wanted to hear more.

A couple of episodes in, Emily starts to talk about a blog series she was inspired to write. It was a series about what she was learning. She has now invited her readers to participate and it has become a community about growth. I think it is a great idea to take time to reflect, as Emily puts it, on the "sacred and the silly".

In the podcast she shares, "Tracking what I'm learning helps me understand who I am becoming."

I'm inspired. This has been a season of growth for me. I have been open to change, there has been heartache and healing, and decisions yet to be made. I'm excited to share, so here goes:

My home should look like a construction zone, not a museum. I'm building up humans. Let perfection go.

Learn to express discipline out of love and relationship, not exhaustion. I'm learning to get better at not just catching my kids when they do something wrong, but also when they do something right. I want my kids to know that I care about their hearts, not just their actions.

Isaiah is hilarious. He says funny things, at funny times, in funny places. I love him.

Female elephants. Ok, this one needs a little explanation. My friends and I saw Jen Hatmaker on her Moxie Matters tour and she talked about how female elephants behave in the wild. To sum it up (you can read more about this on her Instagram page), female elephants gather around the one that is wounded or giving birth and protects her until she is able to get back up. Essentially, they protect one another. I have my elephants, and I couldn't do life without them. I am learning how incredibly grateful I am for deep, deep friendships.

Every Mile Mattered. This one also came from the Moxie Matters Tour - thank you Nicole Nordeman! I'll just take some lyrics and leave them here for you: "It's history, you can't rewrite it. You're not meant to be trapped inside it. Every tear brought you here, every sorrow gathered. Yeah it's history and every mile mattered."

Harmonizing. I'm singing a little bit again and I haven't done this in quite some time. I'm learning some basics again.

I'm strengthening my ability to hear God and be obedient to the ways He is guiding me. I have felt Him nudging me to let go of some things that I have been holding pretty tight to. I was finally able to let it go with a deep sigh of relief. I know in my head that He knows best, but forget to trust it. When I am finally able to take that step in faith, it feels like I can breathe again.

I was a distracted mom. This goes with the thing I learned above. I was trying to do too much and it was taking away from what is most important in my life. I'm excited to no longer live distracted.

Building wood signs. I have turned my husband into Bob the builder, whether he likes it or not. I have been making/building/designing/painting wood signs for people. This has been a fun creative outlet for me!

My soul needed some breathing room. Emily helped me see this with her podcasts and I encourage you to take a listen as well. We get really wrapped up in the hustle and it contaminates us to the core. Just because I have lived a certain way for so long doesn't mean I need to continue living that way. Take. A. Step. Back.

Norah is a little spicy. She has such a different personality from Isaiah, which is great, it's just different than what I am used to. Isaiah was such a mellow baby that the thought of disciple didn't cross my mind until recently with him. Norah just turned 1 and I'm already wondering what to do with her. She is going to be strong-willed, which again is fantastic, but punching me in the face is not so fantastic. I'm learning (and will continue to learn) what it's like to raise a strong-willed child.

I can run! I ran a half marathon (13.1 miles if you don't know - I'm bragging a little) with one of my girlfriends. It was a bucket list thing and I was so proud of myself when I was done. I have a new appreciate for my body and what I can accomplish by simply having the determination.



This list is not exhaustive. There are some tender lessons still being learned, but I'll plan to follow Emily as she does this with the seasons! I'm excited to continue journaling what I'm learning over the next 3 months and I hope you will join in too!

#wwlcommunity

11.27.2017

Norah | twelve months


AGE: 12 months

HEIGHT: 31 inches

WEIGHT: 21 lbs

CLOTHING SIZE: 12 month clothing

UPDATE: This little goober is officially one. She has definitely found her own personality - she's a spicy one. She isn't walking yet. It's not so much a matter of skill, but of confidence. She has taken a few steps but then sits back down. She is so close! She has picked up a lot of the sign language we have taught her which has been helpful! Norah is a good eater. She will eat anything we put in front of her and wont stop until we take it away. We are working our way through some separation anxiety stuff right now. She doesn't like when I drop her off in childcare or with a babysitter, but we are just going to work our way through it! Overall, she's a good little girl. Good eater, good sleeper, loves her big brother, loves to dance, and finds just about everything funny. She's a little ray of sunshine - except for when she's not ;)

11.15.2017

Donut Grow Up | Norah's First Birthday Party




This last weekend we had birthday brunch for Norah and the theme was DONUTS! We celebrated with some friends and family at our home. The morning was filled with lots of food, fun, and sprinkles!

I had a blast getting ready for this party! Thanks to Pinterest, I was able to find some really great recipes! The spread included a mimosa bar, breakfast sandwiches, cheesy hash browns, fruit, and of course we had local gourmet donuts from a place called Sprinkles.

Some of the donut flavors we had were maple bacon, sprinkles, fruity pebbles, cookie dough, cookies & cream, maple nut, and vanilla drizzle. It was so fun to try some new donut flavors! Honestly, I think the fruity pebbles and cookies & cream donuts were the biggest hits!

And then, it came time to do Norah's smash cake. We all gathered around her and sang happy birthday. This went well. In fact, she kind of danced in her seat as we sang. But as soon as I put the cake down in front of her she started to cry! I could not get her to be interested in this cake no matter what I tried! Who gets offended by cake?! Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

____________________________

I can't believe how quickly that year flew by!

Her birthday this year fell on a Tuesday, and on Tuesdays my day starts at 5 am. It was almost exactly the same routine that morning on her birth day. I got up around 5 am, got ready, had a small breakfast, and we headed to the hospital around 6 to be induced. I stood looking in the mirror, thinking back to exactly a year ago: a very pregnant me. Anticipation of what the day would look like and what SHE would look like. Would the day go smoothly? Would she be healthy? Would I be healthy? How bad is this going to hurt?! I remember it so well. Her birth day ended up being incredible (you can read about it here).

This year has come with its challenges, but overall it has been great. Norah brings so much laughter into our home and I absolutely love watching her grow. Happy Birthday sweet girl!
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