Jumpstart – The Weight Loss (Part 2)


I tend to be an ‘all-in-or-nothing’ type person.  That’s why starting a workout regimen or healthy eating lifestyle tends to be so difficult.  Once I have a routine going, I hate missing a daily run, and I’ll do whatever I can to make sure I get one in.  But it is SO tough to get to that point if I’ve lost the habit.  Because when I’m not in the routine of working out, if I mess up – even a little bit – I usually think, “Oh, well, I’ll start again on Monday.”

Oh, wait, everyone else in the world does that too?

I'll start dieting Monday. Swear. Wait.. Do I smell brownies?!? :: xLaurieClarkex~ visit www.hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com for the original meme ;-):

So much for thinking that I had a revolutionary thought.  ;)

Knowing my tendency to do this, however, encouraged me to undertake my get-healthy journey a little bit differently this time around.  Because I always see getting healthy as a lifestyle commitment, it’s easy for me to push off the changes for another week.  I always think, “Eh, I’ll just start next week.  I have the rest of my life to get this figured out, so what’s a few more days?”

But what if I had an actual end-date in mind?

Soooooo, although my plan is to adopt an exercise and healthy eating routine that I can incorporate into my life (for the rest of my life), I decided to pick a date as my grand finale of sorts.  At the end of August (the exact date is still to be decided), Nate and I will go out to eat at a nice restaurant, and we’ll stay overnight in a hotel.  An adorable new dress will also be a must… of course!

I haven’t thought of what the special day should be called, but it makes complete sense in my mind anyway.  :)  Just like my wedding day was major incentive for me to work out and eat healthy, this special night away with my hubby will be encouragement to make time for my physical well-being.  This will remind me of how important it is to make that time to work out and eat healthier, even if it might not be what I feel like doing at times.

And hopefully, once the day arrives, my exercise and healthier eating routines will be habits!  

Here’s the thing…  I think this is going to work!  My alarm went off bright and early yesterday morning, and my first instinct was to ignore it.  But then I thought about the warm sun of August and about buying a brand new dress to celebrate a healthier me.  And, my friends, it gave me the motivation to jump out of bed and run nearly 2 miles before Brady woke up for the day!  :)

This morning, I wasn’t able to run early in the day, because of a super early appointment.  But I made it out for a 2 mile walk this afternoon!

I don’t have a definite amount of weight that I plan to lose.  I don’t have a pant size that I need to fit into.  It’s just about making the time to feel healthy again!  So often, I come up with excuses that revolve around not having time or energy.  But if I feel healthy and fit, then I’ll only be happier, which will – in turn – make me an even better wife and mom.

Eventually I want to increase the days I work out, as well as add to the miles I run / walk.  (I’d also like to add some weight training at some point).  But I’m starting off slow, because I can’t exercise to the point that I crash later on.  (I have a very energetic little boy who I need to keep up with during the course of the day).

So my goal for the time being is to exercise three days a week.  Now I don’t want to tackle my eating habits too early on, because I get insanely hungry when I first start working out.  I kid you not…  For the first two weeks, I eat like a starving teenage boy, because I am literally hungry ALL the time.  But once my appetite settles, I will start to really focus on things like portion sizes and healthier snacks.  (I am already going to try to drink more water though, because that will help me keep my hunger in check.  ;)  And I’m focusing on reaching for healthier snacks – like fruit or whole grains – when I’m feeling hungry).

Over these next few weeks / months, I’ll keep you all updated as to my progress, challenges, successes, and current goals!


Jumpstart – The Weight Loss (Part 1)


hate talking weight loss or dieting on my blog, mainly because I’m a proponent of women loving their bodies.  I don’t believe there’s a magic number, shape, or size that we’re meant to be.  Also, I struggled with an eating disorder when I was 16 (something that I’ve yet to blog about), and I don’t want to ever trigger the struggle in anyone else.

But here’s the thing….

Sometimes, there does come a time when you have to lose a little bit of weight for your well-being.  And that’s the bandwagon that I’m  jumping on right now.  I’m not going to count calories or stand on the scale every-other-day.  I definitely want the focus to be on long term commitment and my overall health.  So while my focus isn’t on becoming ‘skinny’, I do know that I need to lose a little bit of weight.

I put on about ten pounds when I got married, because my guy likes meat and potatoes for dinner instead of salad.  ;)  I also wasn’t living at the gym like I had been before.  But that was okay, because – quite frankly – my original routine was tough to keep up.  It’s not healthy if food and exercise is restricting your life, so I embraced a slightly curvier version of myself.  And it was great; because I still felt ultra healthy, had lots of energy, and felt confident.

(this is me and Nate back in 2008…  We look like a couple of kids!)

After Nate was assaulted three years ago, however, I started to stress eat for the first time in my life.  I exercised on and off, but I wasn’t committed to it.  My focus was on taking care of Nate, and – when we realized that he could no longer run due to his injuries – I kind of gave up the running as well.  (We had always done it together, and it was difficult – during that time – to do it without him).  So I put on another 10 pounds.

Then, just over a year ago, I jumped into the world of motherhood.  I already wasn’t committed to working out, and so it was really tough to get a routine going.  I had signed up for five 5k’s to encourage me to start working out, but I ended up just running the 5k’s… and not training for them at all.  *sheepish grin*  And with the rigorous and exhausting routine of caring for a newborn, teaching piano, keeping a home, and being a wife, eating healthy fell off the bandwagon as well.  I just didn’t have the time, or the energy, to go for a run and then prepare a well-balanced meal.

I easily put on another 10 pounds.

So while I like to say that I gained the Freshman Mom 15 pounds, I’ve definitely put on more than that over the past few years.  ;)  Now I’m not obese by any means, and my doctor isn’t concerned.  Nate has always liked me curvy, so there isn’t even any pressure from that side.  (Yeah, my guy is insanely awesome).

(I have absolutely NO idea what I’m doing with my face here, other than the fact that I had just drank coffee… and I was hyper.  Ha, ha)!

But eating healthy and working out is something that I need to do for ME.  Although my focus isn’t on weight loss, I know that it will be the result of exercise and choosing healthier foods.  And I know that additional benefits will include more confidence and just all-round feeling better.  (Because let me clarify…  It’s not the curvier version of myself that is making me feel less-than-confident.  It’s the fact that I have less energy and that I don’t feel strong like I could.  I just don’t feel healthy, because I’m not taking care of my body like I should).  THAT is why I believe it’s so important for me to include weight loss (a.k.a. a healthier lifestyle) into the journey to find – and take care of – myself again!

I am well aware of how difficult it is going to be…

But I have a PLAN!  :)

(… to be continued)




Finally…  January is over!

Or, well, it will be once this posts at midnight.  ;)

January was rather tough, and so I’m quite glad to say ‘goodbye’ to it.  Not that I think it’s the month’s fault…  But still, it will be nice to have a clean slate, so to speak.  I told Nate just the other day that I see February 1st as a New Year’s redo.

He responded by bringing Chinese food home, since that’s our New Year’s Eve tradition.  (I think there’s a slight chance that he was just craving Chinese food…  But we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he was just being really sweet and supportive).  :)

Anyway, today offers more than just a brand new month full of possibility.  It begins my journey to find value in myself again.  As a wife, and especially as a mom, it is SO easy to lose myself in caring for others.  Last year, I never made the time to exercise…  I felt guilty if I spent money on myself, so I dropped routines that I deemed unnecessary  (but that would have helped me feel pampered and rejuvenated)…

I rarely made time for me…

And honestly, I’m feeling it.

So I spent a good amount of time last week formulating a plan that would allow me to still be the best mom and wife, while also taking care of MYSELF.

Today begins my journey.

I’m a little scared of it, because I know it’s going to require work.  But I’m going to be blogging about this journey on a regular basis, because I want you to help keep me accountable.  :)  I’ll share more about what my plans are and what I really feel I need to work on very soon…

But I’m going to leave you with this little intro for today, because I’m headed off to bed.  I’m setting my alarm clock for an early morning workout!

Wish me luck!!  :)


Miracles Sometimes Come in Little Packages


Thank you to my friend Mandy for sharing her story (and her heart) in the guest blog post below!!


According to WebMD, 1 in 10 American couples is diagnosed with fertility problems.  Some days I wish I had been told that when I was growing up.  But I wasn’t, and I grew up thinking the normal order of life was: graduate from high school, graduate from college, get married, have kids, live happily ever after.  I was the oldest of four.  My sister Alison was born when I was eighteen months old.  After a short time of rebelliously fighting to keep my mom to myself, I gave in, decided the baby was here to stay, and started protecting and caring for her.  She called me “Uh, uh,” and followed me wherever my adventurous spirit led.  By the time I was four, and sister number two came along, I was in love with being a big sister, and embraced the second little sister quickly!



(Grandma, my two sisters, and me – I’m the one holding right near the baby holding the bear for her.)


One year for a church event we dressed up as what we wanted to be when we grew up.  I toted a baby doll around all night because I just wanted to be a mom.  Junior high and high school were filled with babysitting, helping with children’s ministries at church, teaching for Child Evangelism Fellowship, and leading a school lunch Bible club.  I went to college to study elementary education.  When I graduated in 2005, I began teaching 2nd grade at a Christian school.  A few months later I met my husband-to-be, Will, and in 2007 we were married.  Subconsciously my brain was checking things off the list.  Graduate from high school.  Check.  Graduate from college.  Check.  Get married.  Check.  So far everything seemed right on track.

Wedding 130

(Spring 2007)

In 2008 Will and I decided we were ready to have a baby.  We planned it all out.  Our child would be conceived in the summer.  The baby would then be born in spring.  Another one would soon follow, and I would stay home from work to raise and homeschool our children.  I even told my bosses at work that I couldn’t commit to teaching for an entire school year as we were planning on having children.


(Summer 2008)

One year went by, and no baby.  People started asking us when we were going to have kids.  My typical response was a smiling, “Whenever God is ready to give them to us.”  All the while thinking, This was supposed to be so easy.  It’s the next thing on my list.  So I started to do some research.  Different timing, nutrition, attitudes.  But month after month…nothing.

After two years, we decided it was time to find out what was going on.  So we visited a fertility doctor.  We tried hormones for me and meds for Will.  An IUI was unsuccessful, and no matter how much I hoped and prayed and believed, no baby came.  Finally the doctors told us that the only option that would have much chance of success for us was IVF.  After praying about it, we decided against IVF and just stopped.  Our marriage needed some time off from fertility doctors, and we really didn’t know what to do anyway.  Four years of trying and hoping and paying and waiting with nothing to show for it.


(Christmas 2011)

Back to the research for me.  Infant adoption was out of our budget at that point, but I found something called embryo adoption that looked interesting.  Will was on board, and the next stage of our journey began.  We chose a Christian agency and after hours of paperwork, physicals, background checks, fingerprinting, flying a special social worker out to our house for a home study, and creating a profile book, we were matched with a couple from New York City.  They had done IVF, had beautiful twins, and were done having children.  Their four remaining healthy embryos were in frozen storage, and we were going to adopt them!  I would be pregnant, would give birth to babies, and we would have children!

The problems started soon after the match was made.  We had paid all our fees, the only thing left was to get my doctor, who I loved, and the agency in communication for making the final arrangements.  One time after another the agency caused problems for my doctor, for the doctor’s staff, and for us.  In the end, after making sure that the embryos would be adopted by another family, we made the heartbreaking decision to pull out of the adoption.

It was the beginning of 2014, almost six years after I had cheerfully announced to my school administration that Will and I were going to be starting a family.  I had tried everything I knew to try, Will wasn’t interested in adopting a child or in foster care, so here I was, without any hope of ever becoming a mother.

The hopelessness and bitterness began to settle into my heart.  I had spent the last twenty years of my life preparing to be a mom.  I had a degree in teaching children.  I could manage a classroom of students.  I had cared for hundreds of other people’s children.  Yet somehow God didn’t trust me to with my own kids?  If I wasn’t a mom, then what was I?

I believe that often God brings us to the end of ourselves so that we are finally in a place where we are really able to listen.  I had read II Corinthians 12 many times, but it became real as God spoke it to me in this place of hurt, hopelessness, and bitterness.  “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you…’”  Along with this verse, came a question, “Am I sufficient for you, Mandy?”

At first, I argued, “Why can’t I have both?  Other people have both.  Why can’t I have you and a baby?  I don’t even want a lot of children anymore.  Just one is fine.”

Mercifully He responded.  “That’s not the question.  The question is, ‘Am I sufficient?’”

I didn’t feel like believing it.  I wanted to be bitter.  I deserved to be angry.  I clung to my despair.  But every time I went back to the Word, God spoke His truth to my heart.  “I am sufficient for you.  I am sufficient.”  Slowly God showed me that He was truly enough.  If I never had children, God was enough.  If I spent the rest of my life as a no-name teacher who only took care of kids for a year and then sent them on, God was enough.  It took time, but over the next few months, as God taught me that being His daughter, servant and friend was enough, He gave me peace and joy in my barrenness.  He was sufficient.

A year and a half later, in August of 2015, school was starting again.  For some reason, I seemed even more tired than usual, but chalked it up to busyness.  Then, I started to feel queasy.  Not sick, just uncomfortable, all afternoon, every afternoon.  I had learned, from what was now over seven years of waiting for a baby, to dismiss pregnancy thoughts as soon as they came up.  Too many negative pregnancy tests staring back at me had taught me well.  When the normal monthly visitor didn’t come, I again chalked it up to stress and busyness.  Then my clothes started to get really snug, right around my belly, and I allowed the pregnancy thought to enter my mind in only one context, If I’m not pregnant, I need to start hitting the gym hard.  I knew I needed to be sure before I did tackle a rigorous workout routine, but I didn’t want to take another pregnancy test and end up mad at my stupid self for hoping when it showed up negative.

Finally I realized that the only reason I wasn’t finding out was because of fear, and since fear is never a good motivation for anything, I took the test.  Within seconds a solid blue cross appeared.  Pregnant.  But I couldn’t be pregnant.  We couldn’t get pregnant.  Maybe the test was expired.  Nope.  Maybe the test was defective.  One more test.  Still pregnant.  I would walk away from it for a few minutes, and then come back, thinking maybe I had seen an illusion.  Still pregnant.  My hubby bought a different brand on the way home.  Actually he bought a box of ovulation tests instead, but there was one lonely pregnancy test in there along with them, so it worked for our purposes.  Pregnant again.  I laughed and cried.  In the following days we discovered that we were actually nearing the end of the first trimester already.  I had a blood test done, just to be sure.  We squeaked in our first OBGYN appointment just as the trimester ended.  When I saw our baby come up on the sonogram screen, I knew it was real.  God had given us a miracle baby.  Grandma reminded me that every baby is a miracle, which I agree with 100%, but this baby is a seven year prayed for, never expected, out of the blue, miracle baby!

I now know that God does miracles—visible, on-display miracles that show His grace and power, like allowing me to be pregnant.  He also does greater miracles—quiet, behind-the scenes miracles that change our hearts, like giving me the belief that, no matter what happens, He will always be sufficient for me!

Whatever your life looks like, know that God is absolutely in control of the circumstances, big and small, and can work miracles with nothing more than a thought.  More importantly, dear friend, please allow God to show you that, no matter what—He can be sufficient for you!

More Than Just Friends




Nothing can really prepare you for the amazing, scary, awesome, and terrifying coaster ride that begins when you step onto a college campus as a Freshman, especially if you’ve chosen to attend a school out-of-state.  When I chose a college, I remember knowing, in my heart, that living in Florida during my college years was an experience that would stretch me and help me discover who ‘Nicole’ really was.  After all, I was a homeschooled girl from a very small town in New England.  I had been stuck in a bubble of what people perceived me to be for so long that I didn’t even really know who I was sometimes.

I wanted to discover myself and to grow, and that was something that my parents fully supported.  But at the same time, when my dad flew home and left me behind in the Sunshine State, I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, what did I just get myself into?!?”

Loneliness is an understatement to describe how I felt those first few days, and I definitely made more than a few tearful phonecalls home.  I remember thinking how strange it was that absolutely no one knew my name or who I was.  I was like a number in a faceless crowd…  My roommates and suitemates were seriously the nicest girls on the planet and immediately took me under their wing.  But at the same time, I recognized it for what it was.  While they were looking out for me, they had their own friends and activities that they wanted to get back to.  I mean, let’s face it, Seniors didn’t want to spend their semester hanging out with a Freshman.

So although I did take them up on their offer to eat meals with them sometimes, more times than not, I chose to do the most terrifying option: which was invite myself to join tables filled with girls that I hadn’t met yet.  That had been the point, after all.  I wanted to stretch myself and make new friends.

(Let’s pause a moment, so that I can remind you that I hadn’t discovered who I was yet.  I was SO different than the person that I am today, mainly because I was at the very beginning of an important growing experience.  I was sooooooo shy; and it took a lot to bring out the bubbly, people-person side that is such a part of my life now).

Speech class was hardly the place that I expected to meet the first of my best college friends, because it was the class that terrified me the most. Gosh, Speech 101 freaked me out big time!  Had you told me back then that I would one day be a worship leader and sing (in addition to speaking) in front of people, I would have laughed hard enough to crack a rib.  I hated speaking in front of people!  It terrified the living daylights out of me (and the night lights too)!!

Sorry, cheesy humor is kind of my thing.  :)

But sometimes, the best things happen when we least expect it.  After one class, as I was packing up my textbooks, a beautiful girl walked up to me and asked if I’d like to join her for lunch.

I was beyond thrilled to be asked to share lunch with someone who seemed so nice (and who also was a Freshman), and I’m fairly certain that the smile on my face nearly split me in two.  (Seriously, sometimes I can relate to Sue Heck from The Middle just a little too much).

Lunch that day was the beginning of more than a friendship.  Mandy – along with two other girls named Petra and Amy – became my sisters.  We were the four musketeers, ever together and completely unbreakable.  Ours was a relationship forged by laughter and fire.  There were trips to Pensacola beach, Easter egg hunts, ice skating on campus, singing in the car, and lots of pizza nights.  There were days of sickness, the stress of finals, and the September 11th attacks (which happened just 9 days after we arrived on campus, reminding us of just how far away from family we really were).

We were the only family we had during that time, and they gave me the courage to stay on campus when all I wanted to do was go home.

I only stayed in Florida for two years, as – by the time my Junior year arrived – I decided to change my degree focus to journalism.  So I made the extremely difficult (and heartbreaking) decision to switch colleges (which eventually led me to meet Ashley and Wendy, both who are still my best friends today).  But I grew so much during those first two years of college.  Being so far from home made me stronger, more confident, and reminded me that there’s a huge world out there (and not just the people in a small town that I loved).  I began the journey to find out who I really was.

I found a newfound confidence in who I was as an individual, and part of that was thanks to three girls who let me be me.  

The last time I saw Amy and Mandy was on my wedding day, and honestly there was so much going on that I didn’t have the ‘sleepover’ girl time that I so craved.  (And Petra was in Korea, I believe, teaching at the time).  So it has been sooooo long since the four of us have had that.  I’m talking years and years…

But at the same time, these are girls that – no matter how much time has gone by – we can jump on the phone and be right back on college campus, sitting underneath a palm tree and waiting for the cafeteria to open.  The love we share is still strong and unwavering.  Because we’re more than friends…  We really are sisters who care for each other SO much.

And it’s all because Mandy asked me to eat lunch with her one day.  :)

I wanted to take this walk down memory lane, because Mandy has written a guest blog post that’s going up on my blog tomorrow.  And my intro for her post turned out to be this long post and not just an intro after all.  ;)  This is SUCH a special woman, and I can’t wait for you all to read her story!  So stay tuned for that!!



Last week, I lost someone very dear to me.  It was one of those ‘goodbye’s that leaves you reeling… and feeling a little empty…and maybe even confused as to how easily everyone else’s lives seem to be moving forward when yours has come to a crashing halt.  It was almost hard to get my bearings for a little bit.  And I definitely cried… a lot.

I’m not ready to really share about it here on my blog…

But at the same time, I think that the way it has influenced me will make an appearance.

Even during the beginning stages of my grief, as I was faced with such a loss, I was filled with a sense of overwhelming gratitude for just how blessed I am.  Although death takes those we love from us (oftentimes long before we’re ready to let go), it also reminds us to cherish every single day.  It reminds us to hold those we love close and to never take them for granted.

I’ve definitely been snuggling Brady tight (for as long as he’ll hold still in my arms).  :)  And Nate and I have been taking more time to be present with each other, instead of letting the busyness of the day take over.  We’ve just been more aware of how every single day should be celebrated.  Of how we should never take the people in our lives for granted.

It’s so easy to go through the motions…  To live for the weekends…  To stress because there’s a long line at the supermarket or because there’s a stain on our favorite shirt.

Last week was a startling reminder of what really matters in life, and I honestly found myself looking over the upcoming year through a new set of eyes.  I found myself incredibly thankful for what I have (especially for the people who are in my life).  I looked around my living room and took in Nate reading on the couch and Brady playing with blocks; and I prayed to God, “Thank you for this.”

One day, I’ll run through those streets of gold in heaven and last week’s ‘goodbye’ will have transformed into a warm greeting of ‘hello’.

And hugs.  Lots of hugs.

But until then, I will hold onto this reminder that every single day is a gift from God.

Hold those you love close.  Make beautiful memories.  Try new things.  Spread joy.  And don’t sweat the small stuff.

Life is short.  Live, laugh, and love with everything inside you.  :)   Because that’s how life was meant to be lived!!

Being the Best Mom


Reading books and magazines does nothing to really prepare you for the reality of parenthood.  I mean, there are helpful tips and some awesome suggestions that you’ll probably tuck away in the back of your mind for use someday.  (Trust me, I enjoy a good article in Parent or a helpful chapter in What to Expect just as much as the next mamma).  But at the end of the day, it’s all information collected by a specific mom or dad based on their experiences with a specific child.

It’s subjective.

No one can ultimately tell you how to be the best parent to your child, because no one has been the parent to your child.  And, unfortunately, your child doesn’t come with an instruction manual.  (Trust me, I know.  I had a C-section, and so the doctors literally had to open me up to pull Brady out.  If there was any sort of manual inside, they would have found it).

That being said, I was convinced yesterday morning that I was taking steps towards being the best mom I could possibly be, because I made homemade playdough.  I mean, how ‘mommish’ is that?!?  It’s like the epitome of craft-mom, caring-mom, I-embrace-messes-mom, and I-want-to-make-sure-my-baby-has-plenty-of-sensory-play-mom.

Let’s ignore the fact that it was the first time I actually did any sort of real sensory play with Brady.  Honestly, I haven’t felt that he’s needed it.  The kid walked at 11 months, climbed stairs at 12 months, and ran at 13 months.  He has sensory play all day long, as he pulls tupperware out of cupboards, unrolls sheets of toilet paper (when we forget to shut the bathroom door), breaks televisions by pushing the on and off switch too many times, and tugs on ever-patient cat tails.

But I’ve noticed lately that he has seemed a little bit bored.  And although I hope to join some mommy-and-me programs in the spring, the lack of stimulation (and definite need for it) could make for a long winter.  So I decided that it was time to take the leap and begin my adventure of creating some fun learning experiences for my toddler.

And we made playdough.  Well, I made playdough.  He squished it, threw it, and stretched it for a good 20 minutes.  That’s a long time for my little guy to sit still, and so I felt as though we had made some huge progress together.  I rocked at this mommy thing!  I am the best mom!!

Then this happened…

Our house is located in what was once an expansive farmer’s field, and so there are no tall trees to shelter us on the windy days.  Yesterday, it felt as though we were in a wind tunnel.  And because the door had been left unlocked (and apparently hadn’t been shut as tight as it needed it to be), the wind literally blew the side door open.

Brady charged for that open door with the gusto of Mel Gibson in his dramatic, battle scene of Braveheart.   FREEDOM!


Only Brady’s little legs were met with nothing underneath them when he reached the door step, and out he toppled onto the icy front porch.  Thank goodness he wasn’t hurt more seriously and that Nate was literally right behind him to scoop him up and out of the frigid cold.  Also thank goodness no one was driving by to see a toddler come soaring out of the open side door during the middle of winter.  That would be fun to explain to DSS.

Brady received lots of cuddles and some more playdough time, followed by even more cuddles and some Curious George.  And as I sat watching cartoons with him, holding him close, I realized that – ultimately – I wish I could protect him against everything that might hurt him.  As a mom, although I know it’s not possible, I feel as though it’s my job to keep him from all that would hurt him, both physically and emotionally.  That is what would make me the best mom.


But at the same time, I know that each skinned knee or taunt from a bully can be an experience that will make him stronger.  Those horrible moments can tear him down, or they can show him just how strong he can be.  And although I cannot protect him from all that would hurt him, I can be there to encourage him to get back on that bike.  I can show him how to forgive and how to be confident, even when others try to tear him down.

I won’t have all the answers.  I will make mistakes.  Sometimes, I’ll feel like I’ve got the mom thing figured out and then there will be the days that I let the wind kick the door in.  But I will always, always try my best and love him with an unconditional love that cannot be explained or taken away.

That is my job.  And on the days when he needs to cry, holding him will be my job too.  And maybe we’ll make some more playdough together.  Because that’s what the best moms do.





This Mama Runs on Coffee


Being a mom takes exhaustion levels to a whole new level.  It’s not just the lack of sleep at play here.  Suddenly, your mind is being pulled in fifty different directions (on top of that lack of sleep or down time).  And now – in a completely exhausted state – you’re pondering what to make for dinner, when to fold laundry, how to prep for this week’s Sunday School lesson, and how to keep everyone alive.


(When you have a mischievous little boy running around your home, that last one can definitely keep you on your toes).

I can’t imagine getting through my day without coffee.  It’s like liquid hope.  It’s a sudden burst of clarity, energy, and sanity.  (Or at least that’s what I tell myself.  Oftentimes, I feel as though I’m convincing myself that it’s doing even more good than it really is.  But still, there’s no debating the fact that the caffeine – at the very least – is desperately needed).


As of late, however, I’ve needed that first cup of coffee to help me order coffee!

Most recently, a local coffee chain had had an offer of ordering a medium coffee for $1.29.  I usually order a small, but – hey – I couldn’t pass up the extra coffee for such a great price!  Only, when I walked up to the counter to order, I accidentally mixed up the words ‘small’ and ‘medium’.

My order came out like this…

“Hi, I’d like a smile, please.”


The barista was anything but amused, obviously thinking that I was being sarcastic.  And I suppose I didn’t help by suddenly bursting into a fit of giggles.  (I laugh when I’m nervous.  It’s just what I do).

When I realized that she wasn’t going to find this as funny as I did, I quickly corrected my order by saying this…

“Oops, I’m sorry!  I meant ‘medium-small’.  I’d like a medium-small, iced coffee, please.”

I stood there with a completely innocent smile on my face (not realizing what I had just done) and waited for her to ask me for my $1.29.


She looked me over as though I was a crazy person and replied “Do you want a small OR a medium coffee?”

Cue more nervous giggles.  She – again – isn’t amused and is just standing there staring at me.

“This isn’t the first time I’ve needed a coffee to order my coffee,” I said, laughing.  “Sorry, I’ll take a medium.”

She grabbed a cup and walked off to fulfill my order.


I thought to myself, “Hmmmm, can I change my order and go back to the previous request for a smile?”  ;)

I’ll bet she’s a mom who didn’t get her coffee too!

At any rate, I left her a tip for putting up with me.  Then I sipped down the beverage as quickly as I could, hoping the caffeine would give me energy to get me through the day.  Or, well, at least until my next cup of joe!



TV shopping


Winter has eased its way back to New England after a very mild start, and with it has come a dusting of white stuff.  And I couldn’t be more excited, because now I have a little buddy to play outside with.  :)  Brady, like me, has absolutely no issues with going outside into the cold, as long as he’s bundled up well.

Although we don’t have enough snow to go sliding, Brady and I have had fun chasing snowflakes, making footprints, running through snowbanks, and slipping on ice.  Well, maybe that last part hasn’t been so fun…  But it’s all a part of the adventure that come with wintertime!  :)

Our latest wintertime adventure, however, happened indoors and most definitely was not planned.  As many of you already know, Brady found the power button on the side of the television and proceeded to turn it on… and off…and on… and off… until the TV was properly fried.  Nate and I were more than a little stunned that our thirteen month old had so easily broke our TV, but we somehow managed to keep our cool.

I don’t know that anything surprises us anymore…  ;)  He’s a stair-climbing, would-rather-be-running-than-walking, dancing little tater tot.  And he’s ever curious, which means he keeps us on our toes.  Although he’s only just over a year, silence already means trouble is brewing, and Nate and I have to make sure he’s always within our line of sight (no matter how dedicated we have been to baby-proofing).

Still, I was very proud of how calm Nate remained, when he realized that the TV was dead.  He proceeded to open a bag of chips and to start munching for the next 20 minutes.  (Apparently girls aren’t the only ones who stress eat).  ;)

At first, we shrugged and decided to give up TV for awhile.  But then Nate thought about football.  We remembered our weekly movie nights with my sister.  I thought about how much Brady loves to snuggle with me in the afternoons while we watch Curious George together.  (Gosh, I cherish those 30 minutes during which he happily sits still and cuddles on my lap).  And although we do have the projector in the basement, we really can’t afford to heat the downstairs on a regular basis.

Sooooo, we figured out our budget and piled into the Jeep to go TV shopping.

We did end up finding a TV, although it’s smaller and not quite as good quality as the last one.  (Or at least that’s what Nate says…  He’s all into sound and picture quality and all that.  For me, as long as the TV can show Curious George, it’s a winner).  ;)  But it seems to work just fine, and it will give me my relaxing half hour every day when Brady is content to watch Curious George.   ;)  Plus Nate and I get to keep watching football, which is especially important now that our team is in the playoffs.

Soooo, yeah, I love our new TV!  Ha ha.

Oh, yeah, and now we have a baby gate going around the TV to keep it safe.  Ha, ha!