Friday, June 24, 2016

Guest Post: Norwex for the Win

Y’all know I am all about sharing a good thing when I find it. Non-toxic cleaning products are VERY important to me (even more so since I’ve started having babies), so over the past couple of years I’ve been switching everything over. I have been hearing people RAVE about Norwex, and I’m part of a “homemakers” group who swear by the cloths. I feel like so many of my friends have already made the switch & I’m actually kind of behind on this one. SO, my friends Leighann and Heather came over the other day, and Heather hooked us up with all the good info & a couple of demonstrations (in my house) that totally sold me. She said if she could recommend just two products to start with it’d be the Envirocloth and the window cloth. I talked to Jonathan about it before hand and we agreed that we were going to just stock UP! I got several of the cleaning products (a few cloths, toilet cleaner, mops), some of the laundry stuff, a toothbrush, water purifier that balances PH (I’ve been in the market for this anyway), a little rag to clean our cell phones, a body cloth for when we are out and about with the boys (because let’s be honest, they get into some nasty stuff sometimes…)and a few other things. I know it will be a great investment! Jonathan and I both really love a clean, tidy house…but we also want it to be really clean. (Did you know: Vinegar based products need to sit on a surface for up to 30 minutes to kill bacteria, and bleach based products, which we avoid because of the chemicals, need to sit for at least 5 minutes. No thank you!)  I’m excited I’ve found a new solution. Cleaning companies, restaurants, businesses….I feel like they’re sorta crazy to NOT go this route.

Anyway, I asked my friend Heather to share a little of her story and knowledge with all of you in case anyone is in the market or hasn’t heard of this magic little non-toxic.

I’m, Heather Haxton, the mother of two boys whom I love to pieces and were my inspiration to start using Norwex.

When my oldest son was 10 days old we found ourselves in the Pediatric ICU. Our little guy had bacterial meningitis. After several conversations of doctors grilling us about everything we had done with our son since we came home from the hospital, they concluded it was nothing we had done. Phew! But then preceded to let me know that Meningitis can be caused by any simple E. coli that grows on any towel in less than a day, is found on most surfaces, and is easily passed around causing no harm to some and life threatening disease in others. So it could have been anything in our home!
And so started my journey to find a way to really clean but without resorting to harsh chemicals (which can bring a whole other set of problems to our health). Enter Norwex! I researched, studied, and then completed my own tests. Actually, lots of tests! It is amazing to see how the Norwex EnviroCloth can clean a surface better than many leading cleaners.
Check out the video.

You can clean more than 90% of your home, yourself, your car and office with just water and Norwex cloths! The Norwex EnviroCloth is 14% more dense then any other microfiber cloth on the market and has micro-silver chemically embedded into every fiber (this process of embedding silver is known as Norwex BacLock). Each fiber is 1/200th the size of a human hair, this is in comparison with microfiber which is typically 1/6th the size of a human hair. The small fibers mean that it can pick up particles as small as a single protein (smaller than bacteria) and the silver naturally has the property to breakdown bacteria. Bacteria is removed with water and cloth from the surface and then the silver (BacLock) within the cloth begins to break down the bacteria causing the growth and spread of it to be stopped.

You can join Danielle and try a new way to clean, leaving your surfaces free from bacteria and from chemical residue while allowing bacteria to naturally break down. All cloths are machine washable and dried in the dryer with the only stipulations to not use bleach, not use any fabric softener or dryer sheets (a topic worth researching on its own), and to preferably not be washed with linty things. Here is a link to learn more about Norwex or place an order if you’d like to check something out. You can also e-mail me with any questions at and I’d love to help.

Heather Haxton: Norwex Party

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Happy 1st Birthday, Sweet Kade!

Our sweet baby just turned ONE! That had to be the fastest year of my life so far.

Kade just LOVES life!! (And I pray he is always like that.) He is just the sweetest thing, y’all.

He's the happiest little guy- so charismatic, always smiling and making friends everywhere we go. He just exudes JOY. He came into our lives at the perfect time and in the perfect way. He has added so much love & laughter to our home this past year and we are so thankful the Lord entrusted him to us.

What a privilege it is being his Mama. Happy 1st birthday to the coolest one year old I know!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Moms: Do Your Research. It’s Worth It.

Goodness gracious, I LOVE being Mama to these sweet boys. Motherhood is such a sweet calling. But man, it’s tough sometimes, isn’t it?

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A couple weeks ago, lots of my friends were sharing a blog post about “lathering our kids up with toxic sunscreen.” (That was the title anyway…the gist of the article was that everything is toxic/harmful/will kill us eventually…and the mom was explaining that she’s sick and tired of feeling guilty and overwhelmed with all of the ways we’re “harming” our children. So, she’s throwing in the towel and lathering her kids up with the toxic sunscreen.) Moms went crazy sharing it, and at one point I caught myself nodding in agreement. I wanted to give this author a high five and tell her “I feel your pain, sistah.” It is overwhelming sometimes, isn’t it mamas? Some days we feel like we’re just doing our best to keep our little boogers alive, right? Y’all feel me?? (Yes, I know you do.)

Now I don’t want to sound all super spiritual or anything, but after I read it and saw it shared over and over on social media throughout the day, the Holy Spirit started tugging at me. And I just couldn’t shake it. And then I felt like I needed to write a blog post about it. (Trust me, I didn’t really “want to.”) On the surface, everything in that post sounded right.  Loving them IS enough, and we should be content with just “doing our best.” But it’s not right, friends. Because if we’re real & honest with ourselves, putting our heads in the sand and choosing not to research and make the wisest decisions possible concerning our little ones is not really “our best.” (And I’m convinced that’s how Satan attacks sometimes. By tricking us into believing something that sounds right, and feels right, but is actually the WIDE path.) If people took that attitude in their jobs, they’d be fired. These sweet blessings that God entrusted to me? They are my responsibility. They aren’t able to do that research for themselves, they can’t make choices and big decisions for themselves, and it is my JOB as a parent (especially as a mama) to protect them. We are the gatekeepers for our homes, and we have to guard their little hearts, minds, and bodies.

Trust me, I’m not mother of the year over here. My boys eat too much bread and not enough veggies. I struggle (uhhhh, especially in summer when the weather is so nice & it stays light out so late) to get them in bed early, even though I know earlier bedtimes are best. I’m guilty of letting Jase watch my phone to entertain him when I’m running errands or trying to get something done. And I even have a lot of help! (I know some of you who are doing this pretty much on your own. Keep fighting the good fight!) We could all list out millions of ways we feel like we’re missing the mark, so my point here is that I’m not judging or condemning in any way. I’m in the thick of it right there with ya.

I just want to be an encourager, so please hear me. Moms, you are doing a GREAT work! And that’s exactly what it is. Work. It takes WORK to raise up and train and teach and protect children. (Although, of any work I have ever done, it is hands down the sweetest, most rewarding, and most FUN! Children are truly such a blessing!) Jonathan says that all the time. Parenting takes so much constant effort. It’s way easier to be lazy than to take time to learn, to teach, to be patient, to enjoy the moment, and to research. But take heart, sweet ladies! When we feel discouraged, like what we’e doing is not good enough, or when we’re tempted to get lazy in our parenting, know this…God has a remedy! He is just waiting for us to get in the Word & find it so we can be renewed. Remember what the Bible tells us about these things, because I can’t think of anything more encouraging! Galatians 6:9 says “Do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.” Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.”  2 Chronicles 15:7 says “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your hard work will be rewarded.” Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

So here’s the deal, ladies. If we turned off the t.v. or hopped off social media for just 20-30 minutes each day, IMAGINE all of the things we could research/learn! And remember, I am in no way saying that to be condemning…I am saying that as a GUT CHECK to yours truly over here. (P.S. If I ever read something and I feel offended, I stop to ask myself WHY? What is the root? And could it possibly just be conviction?) Anyway, wanna know the cool part about being an avid researcher? You can share that with your other mommy friends! I love that about my friends. They are learners, and they always tell me when they come across something worth me looking into. #nerdalert Why not be into something way more productive then talking about wine or the latest Real Housewives episode? (Or whatever is cool these days.)

Here are a few things that came to my mind when I was thinking of things I research on behalf of my kiddos. If you can thing of something I missed, I would love to know so I can start checking it out so feel free to reach out. I know many of these are controversial, and every family/child is unique…which is exactly why it’s SO important for you to learn as much as you can and pray about the best decision for your children and your family.

  • Vaccines- If you haven’t already, do what it takes to watch the movie Vaxxed. I also would encourage you to read Dr. Sears’ book about vaccinations, but the movie Vaxxed changed everything for me (specifically regarding the MMR). I highly encourage at a minimum following a delayed vaccination schedule. And I will be changing some things up on this (from the way I did things with the boys) in the future after learning more about the brain barrier, the gut, nursing, etc.

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  • Toxicity- There are toxins everywhere. Many of them  simply cannot be avoided these days, so we are going to control the ones that CAN be avoided. GMOs, chemicals in sunscreen, soap, cleaning products, cookware, fragrances, water bottles (BPA) etc. Yes, it is that important. We are super “granola” around here now when it comes to our cleaning products, laundry detergent, toothpaste, and anything that we put directly on our skin (lotion, baby shampoo, etc.).

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  • Nutrition – Friends, this is so, so important. What you put into your kids’ body is either helping them prevent disease or causing it. (I know that sounds harsh, but it is the truth- and we are the nutritional gatekeepers of our home.) I know there are people that hear “the importance of eating organic” and immediately shut down & think that’s for hippies or rich snobs. But there is a reason there is even a fuss over organic vs. conventional- and bottom line, pesticides are extremely toxic and harmful. Try watching a few documentaries like Food, Inc. I know organic can be expensive, but there are options. Farmers markets, plant a garden, cut cable and use the extra $1200 a year to buy organic foods. We also really need to avoid food dyes, additives, and refined sugar if/when possible. Kids can still enjoy treats. I’m not talking about deprivation. I’m talking about consistently making better choices. Kids are picky eaters when mom/dad are picky eaters or allow them to be picky. The fact that Jase doesn’t eat enough vegetables right now is nobody’s fault but my own. When you have a new baby, nurse if you can. According to the experts, at least a year is ideal. Also, juice, soda, and Gatorade? Just no. Did you know we are raising the first generation of kids that aren’t going to outlive their parents because of obesity related issues? Mamas, we have to do better. We can’t just claim ignorance when we have such a wealth of information at our fingertips! We have to CHOOSE to educate ourselves and learn to eat and cook nutritious meals for our families. IF you’re too busy to do that, something needs to come off your plate of life.
  • Antibiotics- We are so quick to medicate kids when there are often natural remedies (I love chiropractic care and some other alternative medicine solutions) or it’s something that can just run its course. Antibiotics are absolutely necessary sometimes, and I’m thankful we have them for when we need them, but they are way overdone in my opinion. Know how they work? They kill bacteria. That includes GOOD bacteria that we need to fight infection. When you are pumping you kids full of antibiotics, you are destroying their gut/their immune system which ultimately leads to more sickness and more antibiotics. It definitely needs to be built back up with probiotics, but even better if it can be avoided in the first place by building up their immune system. Nurse them. Let them play in dirt. Try not to sanitize/sterilize every little thing to death. When your kiddo isn’t feeling well, is the first thing you do run them to the doctor ASAP? Or do you at least research some natural remedies? Also, we should avoid antibacterial soap and we can even make our own hand sanitizer. Little by little, antibacterial stuff is building our resistance to antibiotics which means we will need even stronger ones in the future.

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  • Sleep- This is so crucial to their development! Their little brains need time to recover from all they are learning and processing. It’s actually quite amazing how much sleep they really need. A good solid 12 hours at night + naps. I always feel sad when I see a kid misbehaving and getting in trouble when it’s obvious they are just tired. Honestly, I get cranky and irritable when I don’t get enough sleep, so how do we expect littles to control their attitudes when they aren’t getting enough rest? Earlier bedtimes have been shown to be better for children. That is DEFINITELY an area I need to work on, although I do make sure they get their 12 hours and I am pretty hard core about naps unless there are extenuating circumstances. I try to remember their sleep is more important than any selfish motive I have for keeping them up. We also believe in sleep training. We do this (basically) by following an eat-wake-sleep pattern, establishing a routine, using blackout curtains and a noise machine/fan, having consistent wake times, and making sure they get FULL tummies. There are plenty of books/resources. Life is just better when everyone sleeps!
  • Supplements- Go to the Council for Responsible Nutrition's website and do your research. Basic basic, I personally believe kids need a multi, a probitoic, and an omega/DHA supplement (especially BOYS). You can talk to your doctor to come up with a time frame/regimen/plan based on your child’s needs. Kids also need vitamin D, but they need the REAL thing: sun! We can’t constantly slather sunscreen on either. Heat of the day and direct sun, yes. But I don’t personally believe it’s a constant necessity.
  • It is recommended that kids get ZERO screen time before the age of 2. As in, zero. It’s ridiculous how quickly they become addicted, and I have personally found that our own heart issues are magnified in our children. (Read: I need to put my phone down.)

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  • BPA- This has been found to be highly carcinogenic & particularly harmful to the fetus when moms are carrying little boys in the womb. Avoid plastic water bottles when you can (we use stainless steel a good bit) and store your food in glass containers. Never heat food in the microwave in plastic containers. (Actually, just quit using the microwave all together if you can. I don’t even want one in our next house!) The stove works just fine to reheat food. Buy wooden/metal toys when you can.

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  • Wash their clothes before they wear them. Clothes are often sprayed with flame retardents. (Also, do not put a stain resistant coating on furniture.)
  • Pregnancy- I believe women HIGHLY underestimate the effects of their choices during pregnancy on their child after they are born. This needs to be the time in your life when you take the absolute BEST care of yourself. Floss regularly. Eat healthy. Get plenty of veggies, fruits, protein, good carbs, and good fats. (If something is on the “do not eat” list…DO NOT eat it for crying out loud. Don’t listen to your friends who say “Well I ate lunch meat every day and little Johnny turned out fine!”) Stay active. Check out all the research on working our during pregnancy- it’s phenomenal & will definitely encourage you to get moving! Get plenty of rest. Stretch a lot. Take your prenatals and DHA. Avoid medication. Try not to stress. Do not drink.
  • Car seat safety- Do your due diligence and pick the best one for your budget/vehicle. This is one area I always encourage people to splurge though. Actually read the manual/watch Youtube videos for proper installation. Know how to strap them in properly. It should be snug, at their armpits/chest, and rear facing AS LONG as possible. Know when it’s time to move to the next carseat.
  • Don’t make assumptions or just blindly follow whatever you see on a blog post or just do what your mama did.  I saw something the other day about swaddling leading to SIDS. When you opened it up and read the article, it said that it’s not safe for kids to be swaddled when they are able to start rolling. Duh. But man, isn’t that title misleading? Swaddling is great before they can roll! And trust me, no disrespect to your mama. Mine is the best!! But, times have changed. Our government is not “for us” when it comes to health issues. Big companies are not “for us” either- they are all about a dollar. So we OWE it to our babies to do the research. We can’t just “do what we’ve always done” because we’re dealing with a whole new set of issues.

Mamas, if we’re too busy to research, it’s time to clear the plate and reprioritize. Or maybe it’s just making some honest evaluations of how we spend our time. Find some moms you respect and pick their brain if you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. I feel like I have mommy friends who are experts in different areas, so I go to them when I have questions. We owe it to our babies, and it will be worth it. I knows it can be overwhelming and exhausting, but you were created “for such a time as this.” And of course, training them in the ways of the Lord is always the most important! That heart training, nothing trumps that. But we do have an obligation to take care of their temple until they’re mature enough to take over that aspect of their life.

All that being said, please don’t think I’m encouraging you to live in fear. I know we live in an “everything causes cancer and will kill you eventually” society. We can’t bubble wrap ourselves or our kids, and living in fear is paralyzing. I am NOT suggesting that. I am simply saying that knowledge (when applied) is power. It makes you more confident. It will serve you and your family well. The more I learn/know, the more confident I feel in my decisions. When I lack confidence, it’s usually because I have chosen the lazy route and haven’t put the work in.

I’m sure this post will rub a few folks the wrong way (although it wasn’t intended to do so). I hope you heard my heart and feel encouraged to start “studying.” Being a lifelong learner is something GREAT to model for our kids!

One of my all-time favorite roles is being a mama to these sweet boys. I am so thankful the Lord entrusted them to me and Jonathan, and I pray daily the Lord will give us wisdom in parenting. I pray he will make us more attentive, give us discernment, and strengthen us so we can finish the task at hand in training them up. I also pray I am an encourager to other moms (and future moms). And ya know, as a woman, you’re probably “mothering” someone. You were created to be a nuturer. I learn from my friends who aren’t even mamas yet, too. So, keep working!

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” –Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Fit by the 4th!

For the last 4 years, Jonathan & I have been coaching others to help them hit reset, jump start a healthier lifestyle, and break through plateaus. It has been such a blast helping people achieve their goals and it seriously never gets old. Most people have NO idea how GOOD they are designed to feel. It's amazing what great nutrition does for all aspects of your life, even for those folks who have "tried everything" or already live a pretty healthy lifestyle.

We're getting ready to kick off another round of "Fit by the 4th" challengers and we'd love for you to be part of it with us. Your health is one of the BEST investments you can make!

There are a couple of different ordering options- you can pay full retail or do the membership (which is definitely the best value & a no-brainer with the sweet new changes). I’d love to chat with you if you have questions, so feel free to shoot me an e-mail first so we can talk about the options, your goals, etc.

Can't wait for some awesome results!

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Word to the Unmarried Ladies

When I first wrote Being a Godly Wife back in 2012, I received TONS of emails. Many of them were from young ladies asking for a post with advice about dating, being engaged, and even from single ladies about what to look for in a spouse. I loved hearing testimonies from so many sweet gals, so many walks of life, & I truly appreciated all of the encouragement. (Got my fair share of hate mail too, but that’s going to happen when you’re teaching the Word in a fallen world.)

Anyway, here we are, four years after that little post went viral, nearly six years into marriage, and I feel like I am finally ready to offer some insight. I’m still not the expert by any means, but after studying LOTS of relationships, making my own mistakes and learning from my experiences, thinking about what I want to teach my own children as they grow up, and “counseling” multiple women (not officially, but basically), here’s what I’ve got for ya.

  • First and foremost, I want to encourage you to NOT date someone unless you can see yourself marrying them.  We live in a society that teaches “Have fun! Get lots of experience under your belt. Sow your wild oats while you’re young.” Y’all, that is garbage advice and there is NOTHING Biblical about that. Can I tell you what that “advice” breaks down to in real life? Baggage. So hear me on this…If there is something that is a deal breaker (as in you couldn’t see yourself spending the rest of your life with someone for some reason or another), end it ASAP. Even if it’s hard. Otherwise, here are the two possible outcomes: Someone in the relationship is going to get hurt, or you’ll end up falling for him and excuse what was once a non-negotiable for you (which will probably lead to problems later on).
  • Most people get this backwards, but we should really go through our dating relationships with a magnifying glass and our marriage letting the little things slide. Most of us put our blinders on during the dating season because we are so “in loooooove” and just excuse the faults, but when we get married, we make mountains out of those molehills where we once turned a blind eye.
  • Pray for a  man that loves Jesus the most. Even more than you. Pretty much every (Christian) gal that I know claims to want this, but in reality, her actions/attitudes sometimes show that she actually wants her man to put her first. She’ll never admit it, but I’ve seen it over and over. Here’s the thing…when the lovey dovey honeymoon feelings go away (because they do, and I am saying that as someone who is madly in love with my husband, just in a different, deeper way), you will WANT a man who is sold out to Jesus. Who will lead your family & follow Christ above all. Only then will he truly be able to love you the way you want to be loved anyway. So don’t come between his relationship with the Lord. Encourage it!
  • Don’t give too much of yourself to a person until you’ve said “I Do.”  I mean physically, emotionally, or mentally. When you do that, in the case it ends (I know, you think it’ll never happen #untilitdoes) and then you end up bringing baggage into your marriage. I can assure you, you will never regret being able to give you FULL self to your husband! However, you most likely WILL regret having given too much of yourself to someone else. Every little piece you give away to someone you’re dating is a little less of yourself you have to give to your husband. And baggage? Not cool.
  • You can’t expect God to bless your relationship if you’re living in sin. There are consequences. You reap what you sow. Just gonna leave that right there.
  • Try to make sure you’re on the same page and have the same big picture life goals. When it comes to things like where you want to live, church, mission work, how many kids you want, if you want to stay home with them, how you spend money, etc., you want to have the same general big picture goals. Obviously you can’t plan your whole life and you never know what God has in store, but some of those biggies can be deal breakers.
  • He needs to pursue you. Ladies, do not chase after a man or pursue him. I’m not saying play “hard to get” or any games, but he should be calling you, setting dates, etc. Jonathan always tells everyone the story of the first time we met (in the parking lot after his sister’s softball game…he parked next to my car) and I told him he’d have to call me if he wanted to hang out because I was a very traditional girl. Haha! Well, he did.

  • Make a list of the things you’re looking for in a spouse, and then ask yourself “Who do i have to become in order to attract that kind of man?” I don’t mean put on a phony front pretending to be someone you’re not. Most men will see right through that, and even if they don’t. your marriage will be miserable if you become a different person after the “I do’s.” I’m talking about true growth. Surround yourself with wise women. Read. Study the Word. Grow up. Focus more on becoming beautiful inside than out. (But don’t neglect the outside.) Learn what it means to be “in Christ” & your role as a help meet in the future. The good news? The Bible gives us some clear instructions as women (Titus 2:3-5) and goals to strive for as a virtuous woman (Proverbs 31).
  • Speaking of lists, these are some of the things that popped up on my list before I got married: someone who has a relationship with the Lord and will lead our family spiritually, someone who is athletic (I am an athlete, and if I can throw a ball harder than you…just no), someone who is FUNNY (I love to laugh!), someone who likes to be active and take care of himself (so he’ll eat my healthy cooking & we can make a healthy lifestyle a priority together), someone who is big on FAMILY, a manly man (I just can’t do super sensitive/soft…& ability to grow some good facial hair is a plus), someone my family likes (my whole family ADORES Jonathan, by the way! they may even like him better than me! Ha!), tall, someone who would be a hands-on, involved daddy, someone I could TRUST, and someone who makes me feel good about myself (just being honest- that was definitely important to me back then- although I’ve grown out of that.) I didn’t care much about looks …Jon just happens to be handsome. I also didn’t care about how much money he made, as long as he was a hard worker and I was confident he would do what it takes to provide. (I have ZERO tolerance for a lazy man. ZERO!).
  • Now that I’ve been with Jonathan for almost TEN years (what?!?!), he definitely encompasses all of those, but here are a few of the qualities I appreciate the very most about him. Qualities I didn’t even know were important to me, I wasn’t necessarily looking for, but thankfully the Lord gave me in Jonathan. I would highly encourage you to pray some of these in your future spouse.

                 * Discernment. I don’t even know that i knew what that word meant when I was younger, but I am SO thankful for Jonathan’s discernment. He has one of the best discerning spirits I’ve ever been around. It is truly a gift from the Lord. He is a great judge of character and can see right through people. His discernment helps him make wise, cautious decisions for our family- especially regarding who we allow to influence our lives and be around the boys.

                 * A learner. This is one of my favorites! He is such a hard worker, which I love, but when you pair that with a man who is a learner, you have an AWESOME combo! He tells me that when he was about twenty or so, he remembers clear as day thinkin “Son, you don’t know how to do anything. If you want to make something of yourself, you’re gonna have to learn some skills.” And so it began. He is a self-taught master mind in SO many areas….it’s ridiculous. (Awesome.) He researches, reads, watches videos, and learns how to do everything the best, most efficient, most solid way possible. He can build/fix anything and knows a LOT about a LOT. People call him all the time for advice and help because they know he knows. He is super, super humble about it and is even cautious sharing all he knows with others because he never wants to seem like a know-it-all. I can’t imagine the tens of thousands of dollars he has saved us by being a willing, lifelong learner.

                 * Integrity. He is the definition of “character”…doing the right thing even when no one is looking. He goes above and beyond in everything he does. He does work for others the way he would want it done for us, and he is PICKY, so that’s saying a lot. He does what he says he’s going to do. He’s a man of his word. If you are solid enough to earn a place in his inner circle, he would do just about anything for you and doesn’t expect anything in return other than genuine appreciation.

                * And he plays guitar, so there’s that.

{Our FIRST picture together….back in 2006. WHOA!}

In praying for your future spouse, I would pray for for wisdom, strength, direction, a man after God’s own heart, and protection from the enemy and any evil. I would pray for many of the characteristics you wrote out on your “list.” Pray for his heart, mind, experiences, decisions, and friends. Pray he has self-control and seeks the Lord.

And while you are waiting to meet him, act, dress, talk, behave around other men like you want other young ladies acting, dressing, talking, and behaving around your future husband. (Does that make sense?) Respect the guys you are around as someone else’s future husband. Classy & modest!

Marriage is more than a commitment and a ceremony. It is a COVENANT. A vow before the Lord. Our society teaches that we have an easy way out now with divorce, but God HATES divorce. That is abundantly clear in the Word. It is not a decision to take lightly or rush into. Definitely take some time to pray over some of these things, and start praying over your future husband NOW. You’re going to be ONE with that man…forever…so he deserves nothing short of your best prayers.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Chattanooga: Family Getaway Weekend

We were invited to a surprise 30th birthday party for a sweet friend of ours who lives in Nashville last weekend. Jonathan has been wanting to take a family trip somewhere for awhile, so we decided this was the perfect opportunity to make a weekend of it. It was very last minute (the Chattanooga part) and not very planned, but we had the B-E-S-T time!!

Nashville is about a 4.5 hour trip, so Chattanooga was kind of a halfway point. It only took us a couple of hours to get there. The boys don’t typically sleep in their car seats, so we wanted to break it up. They were great for not having a nap.

The weather was BEAUTIFUL! We walked around downtown for a while and checked out the aquarium and the riverfront. The boys loved it! We ate an early dinner at a local restaurant (Big River Grill I think?) and headed back to the hotel because we wanted to take the boys swimming  before it got too late.

Kade obviously enjoyed his black beans.

We stayed at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. It’s older, but I was seriously nostalgic staying there and it brought back so many memories from my childhood. It was was an actual train station back in the day and is over 200 years old. My mom always took us the coolest places and gave us the best experiences growing up and I have some really fun memories from my childhood. I know the boys are little, but Jon and I want to do that for them.

Jase thought it was AWESOME sleeping on a train just like we read about in our train book.

Being their mama is the BEST.

This was Kade’s first time in the water and he L-O-V-E-D it. Total water baby!!

It takes Jase a little bit longer to warm up to it. Even though he loves to play with water, he is still a little hesitant about the pool- maybe flashbacks from ISR? (We did not have a great experience our first go round, but plan to give it another shot with a different instructor.)

Kade was splashing everywhere and kept nosediving/faceplanting in the water. And then he would laugh. He had the best time!

Jase felt much safer when Daddy was holding him. I just adore this sweet picture of my fellas!

Hahah! This one cracks me up.

Swimming wore them slap out! I gave the boys a bath when we got back and we put them down for the night. There was a little cot where Jase slept and a perfect little nook for Kade’s pack n play. We brought Jase’s little whale music player.

The train was really cool, but not very sound proof. We could hear neighbors and people outside walking by super late. Kade thankfully slept like a rock all night, but Jase woke up a few different times when he heard people talking and once to get a drink of water. Jon & I didn’t sleep worth a poo. Helllllo, Spark! Being an adult with kids makes me feel sorry for everyone who stayed around us back in our travel ball days. #sorryboutthat

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, and it was not so great. Actually, it was pretty nasty. No healthy options at all, and pretty much everything on the buffet reminded me of school lunch. We both agreed we wished we would have just had the meal replacement shakes I packed. They didn’t charge us for the boys, but heads up if you stay there…go somewhere local instead. It wasn’t worth the $9.

We did have fun walking around after breakfast though. They had lots of neat little games and things set out around the grounds. There is probably a picture of me in front of this very same train somewhere in my parents’ house.

The highlight of our trip was the Children’s Discovery Museum. We could have stayed there all day! It was worth every penny and there was so much cool stuff. It would make a great field trip. I HIGHLY recommend it if you have kiddos, and it’s worth the trip to Chattanooga just to visit the museum. The boys (and when I say boys, I am totally including Jonathan in that too) had a BLAST! I’m not sure who had more fun.

Anyone who knows me knows that I was obviously the singing talent in the family band. #not

Dr. Butler was checkin out daddy’s heart.

They even had a place specifically geared to Kade’s age. He rode in the stroller most of the time, but he went wild & free in this area and loved it.

We walked a couple of blocks over and had Taziki’s for lunch. We love Mediterranean food & everything there is so fresh. MUCH better than breakfast!

That double stroller is finally coming in handy.

We packed the boys up after lunch and headed to the Reynolds’ house for Beth’s surprise party. We hoped the boys would sleep in the car on the way there, but we only got about 30 minutes out of Kade and nothing out of Jase.

Beth was genuinely surprised and it was fun getting to celebrate her big 3-0!! We also loved seeing their beautiful home!! Jase had a blast running around with all the kiddos and the food, cake, and company were all great. The boys were pretty good for day 2 of no naps. Always a toss up how that’s going to go, but they were troopers.

We headed home and decided to play it by ear whether we would stop to stay the night or not. Both boys ended up cashing out about an hour into the drive home, so we decided to finish it out and head straight home. They slept the whole way home.

I guess all of the running around and playing wore him out cuz this dude fights sleeping in his carseat tooth and nail.

We ended up getting home around 11:30ish (we always forget about that time change) and tag teamed putting the boys down. It was a pretty decent transition from car to bed..only about a 10 minute meltdown for each. Ha!

It was really such a great little weekend getaway! We love making memories with our little family.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Jase’s 3rd Birthday Party

Our biggest boy turned 3 on May 8th!!

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I wanted to do a small, low-key party since it was on Mother’s Day and since we’ll do a big 1st birthday bash for Kade next month. We invited our families (which is still 20+ people!) and met at a park by our house after church on Sunday. It was a great location and the kids had a blast! We brought popsicles, ice cream, cake, and a few snacks. The kids mostly ran around and played and Jase loved spending time with everyone.

It was a hot one!

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Papa & Granddaddy are two peas in a pod! So thankful for these men.

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Jase was pumped about his cake.

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He may or may not have taste tested the icing…

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He sang “Happy Birthday” with us (to himself) and blew out his candles like a boss.

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Kade LOVES balloons!!! Seriously, happiest little guy ever.

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Love this sweet picture of Will & Jade with the boys.

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We also celebrated Trey’s 19th birthday~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Trey!

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Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated our sweet boy with us. We are so blessed to have all of you!

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Jase- Turns out everyone is right. Time FLIES! I catch myself torn between the wanting to keep you little and being so excited to watch you grow. I can’t wait to see the man you become some day, but for now, I am loving your precious little voice, your sweet heart, your smile that lights up the room, and the pure JOY you bring to those around you. You are such a light in our family and I am forever thankful for YOU, my first baby. You’re a sweetheart and we love you beyond words. Happy birthday, buddy. Can’t wait to see what this year holds for us!

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