Wednesday, October 31, 2012

halloween with a homemade Dino!

You can see Isaac's homemade pirate costume from last year here.

I wasn't quite sure what Isaac should wear as a costume this year. There were a few options, but in the end dinosaur just seemed perfect. He loves to growl and his favorite stuffed animal, actually his best friend, is a green dino that he found at a yard sale a while back.

I had seen a tutorial for making a kid's hoodie into a dinosaur costume a while back. This isn't the exact one, but it's very similar. As far as the tail goes, I figured out how to do that on my own. I'm not going to share a tutorial of how I made it here, but I thought I would show you some of the steps. The whole costume was pretty simple and took maybe an hour total, but probably not even that long.

From this: 021022dino1dino3dino2

To this:

And a few fun photos:

I cannot wait to take my little dino trick-or-treating tonight!! Last year he wasn't quite walking yet so we didn't take him around the neighborhood. Instead we wheeled him around in his stroller at a local carnival. This year though, we will be hitting at least one neighborhood (not my parents' because its a retirement community) and then over to our church for trunk or treat. Did I say yet that I'm so excited!

Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

show and tell: 3 things I use during the day

Today I'm linking up with Ashley and Erin for The Girl Behind the Blog link up. I look forward to this day every month. It's always so fun to see the new prompts and to see and hear everyone's answers!

The prompt this month is about what 3 things we can't get through the day without and it's a show and tell. To be completely honest, I think my answers are pretty boring. But I live the fabulous life of a stay at home mom, so what do you expect? (by the way, the best job in the whole world).

I'll let you be the judge...

Don't forget to check out the other vlogs too!!

cultivating a thankful heart in difficult times

Back in August, I was really feeling discouraged about our situation. All I want is to have my own space again, but things are moving along slower than I had expected. But I'm very aware that you can't rush God's timing. Although sometimes, I secretly wish I could.
In an effort to change my perspective, one day I sat down and wrote a list of all the negative emotions I've been feeling and the reasons for them. I know, that sounds really encouraging, right?
But it was really good to get it all out on paper; into a list that I could read and consider and pray over.
Then, I took every single one of those things and wrote down a list of what I'm thankful for inspite of every single reason I wrote for feeling those emotions.
And it really did change my perspective. This is definitely an exercise that I'm going to try more often. And since it was so convicting and yet encouraging, I wanted to share it with you.

As an example, here is some of my list (you'll notice that I was feeling mostly frustrated and annoyed):
negative emotion and why: frustrated and annoyed about my husband's work situation.
yet I am thankful for: Ben has a job in this economy and he is getting a paycheck while we look for another job. Plus there are opportunities for him to move up from the position he is in.
negative emotions and why: frustrated with an awnry toddler
yet I am thankful for: my wonderful son who is so smart and sweet and has such an incredible personality!
negative emotion and why: annoyed about only having one car that my husband takes to work most days so Isaac and I are stuck at home
yet I am thankful for: a car that runs and works and gets us around without trouble (and a mechanic, my husband's step-dad, when we need anything) and my parents who are quick to let us borrow their cars when needed.
negative emotion and why: frustrated about not knowing the outcome of this entire situation
yet I am thankful for: a God who knows it all and who I know I can trust

I don't know how this idea came about but I knew I needed to change my attitude. It's funny how on the other side of a negative emotion, there can be thankfulness. All you have to do is stop to consider what in your life you are grateful for.

It's really hard to go from having things a certain way and living a certain lifestyle to having it all flipped upside down. But sometimes we don't have control over our lives (okay, we never really do) and rather than being bitter and frustrated about it, I've found that focusing on what really matters and actually being thankful for those things changes everything.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

a fall tradition: pumpkin patch in southern california

2 years ago my mom and I decided to make a trip out to a pumpkin patch in Temecula's wine country to take some fun photos with my baby bump. At the time, I was living in San Diego, so it wasn't too far of a drive. I was 27 weeks pregnancy with Isaac.

Last year, I was living in Texas but planned a trip to Vegas that included a drive down to San Diego. I brought Isaac with me and we thought it was more than fitting to take him to the same pumpkin patch for photos.

This year, Ben, Isaac and I took a quick little trip over to Oceanside. Of course, we had to get over to the pumpkin patch for photos with Isaac and my baby bump. This time around, I was about 34 weeks pregnant.

I always find it so fun to compare photos from year to year to see just how much things have changed! This has definitely become a fall tradition and I hope we can continue to get back to the same pumpkin patch every year! Besides, it gives us an excuse to get to San Diego every. single. year. (photos were taken in October of 2010, 2011, and 2012).

2 years ago:
me and the bump.

Last year:
8 months old.

This year:
20 months old. (ummmm, when did my baby become a little boy???)

Last year:

This year (and I totally didn't mean to wear the same shirt!):

2 years ago (27 weeks pregnancy with Isaac):

This year (34 weeks pregnant with Elijah):

Last year:

This year:

And a few more just from this year: IMG_3835IMG_3800IMG_3830IMG_3820IMG_3789IMG_3825IMG_3794

I'm really loving this Fall tradition. We'll definitely be taking the boys back every year (and future baby bumps and kiddos too!).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

before baby!: a to-do list

I have approximately 26 days until this baby makes his grand appearance.


And I have a lot to do before that can happen. So I've started making a list and since I haven't shared any goals or to-do lists on the blog in a while, I thought I would go ahead and share this one (I love lists, by the way). Here you have it, the...

The Before Baby!! to-do List:

*potty train Isaac
*continue "cat, cow" poses daily so this kid will flip
*pull necessities our of storage:
clothes (and wash)
blankets (and wash)
breastpump and accessories
moses basket
*purchase birth kit
*pick and purchase a new car seat
*finish writing Elijah's birth plan
*list of last minute questions for my midwives
*pack my labor/birth bag
*finish reading childbirth without fear and one thousand gifts
*record one more day in the life before we become a family of 4
*develop labor playlist on my ipod (which will include lots of The Album Leaf and Iron and Wine)
*charge cameras, video camera, and cell phones
*pick a pediatrician (I've had consultations with 3 and am not entirely sold on any of them, although I'm leaning more toward 1 than the others)
*pick post labor outfit and going home clothes (I know, this one is probably the most important ;)
*develop a Plan A, B, C and D for what to do with Isaac while I'm in labor
*spend time daily with the Lord, preparing my heart and mind for labor

Wow, that's a bit overwhelming, right? Especially considering I'd like to get most of it done by the end of this week. Obviously I have no idea when Eli will actually come, but I want to be ready.

Is there anything I'm missing?? Anything you recommend getting done before baby arrives?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

i don't own a smart phone and other confessions

Is it a total faux pas that I don't own a smart phone? I mean, I am a blogger afterall and my blog depends on my use of social media.

For those of you who follow me on instagram, you're wondering at this moment how I use it without a smart phone, aren't you?? my secret: my loving, sharing husband lets me have one app on his phone. I just had to promise to remove all notifications because they were driving him crazy.

But, why don't I have a smart phone? I realize I don't necessarily have to have an iphone (although I'd really love one). I could just get something cheap and simple. But the answer is because I'm too cheap. And my frugality often outweighs my desire for something that I don't need, but just want.

Ben got a droid when we moved to Texas last year when it was time for his upgrade. He needed it for work and he lets me use it when we're out and about if need be. But we couldn't justify the cost of purchasing 2 new phones and renewing our contract for another 2 years (with a company we don't really like) and paying the extra cost for data on top of it all.

This phone has been so good to me but i can't wait to get a smart phone! #stuckinthe20thcentury

So, here I am, with the same phone I've had for at least the last 4 years. Nothing smart about it. Although, it does have a keyboard, so don't hate.

Seriously though, our contract is finally up this month so we'll be shopping around with other providers to find the cheapest deal so that we can both have smart phones. It will be pretty exciting to finally enter into the 21st century!! at the same time I'm sitting here thinking we could continue saving $300 a year by me not getting a smart phone.. hmm, is it worth it? I'll be sure to let you know what I decide.

Is it terrible that we haven't used a baby monitor with Isaac since it broke when he was about one year old? But honestly, I sleep so well without it and I think it's important for mom to be rested each day. Don't you? Besides, we sleep with our door open and I have super sensitive mom hearing (I think that's an actual super power). So if he does wake up crying I usually wake up. Even then though, there isn't much I do about it unless he's screaming bloody murder. He always just cries himself back to sleep (but he almost never wakes up at night. that kid is one. solid. sleeper.)

Most of the time, I feel super inadaquete as a mom. There is so much responsibility that comes along with that title. I mean, I am almost entirely responsible for him on a daily basis because I spend so much one on one time with him. He watches everything I do and hears everything I say. He looks to me to be nurtured and cared for. But even more than that, I'm responsible (of course along side my husband) for discipling his sweet heart and mind and directing Him toward Jesus.

There are days that it all just seems to be too much. Feed him, clothe him, discipline him, feed him, pray for him and over him, teach him, care for him, color with him, play with him, love him, love him, love him, read with him, feed him. And it can be exhausting because I don't have the strength to do all of that, on my own, day in and day out, and certainly I can't do it perfectly well, the way I would like for it to be done.

But that's where grace comes in. And the strength of the Lord. His grace covers my inadaquecies and His strength allows me to do what I know I cannot do on my own.


And how bad is it that I have the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe memorized (the 1/2 and full versions)?? What can I say? I'm a sucker for homemade cookie dough. And sometimes there is enough left over to actually bake a few cookies.

Oh, and I don't edit a single photo I share on my blog. Is that even allowed to be said in the blogosphere? But the truth is, I don't have time for it nor do I care how perfect my photos look. I would rather have them show real life because this blog is a place I use to document our life, and it's real.

That's all I have for now. Have a question you'd like to have me answer?? Leave it in the comments. And please, share any confessions you have below as well.

Monday, October 22, 2012

i don't want to forget

this week you are 21 months old 


I don't want to forget that right now your favorite 'hat' is a lampshade

I don't want to forget the other night when you took a shower with your dad and I could hear you yelling from the bath, just thinking you were having a great time, hollering away. Then I stopped to listen and realized you were yelling "Mama! Mama!" I went into the bathroom and you were standing there, in the tub, glass door slid wide open, naked, soaking wet, yelling "Mama!" Ben had been yelling for me and I didn't hear so apparently you decided to give it a try

I don't want to forget how you stop and dance to any music that comes on.

I don't want to forget how we were browsing the halloween section at Dollar Tree the other day and your dad put on a scary mask and started growling at you over the top of a shelf. You watched him closely. Then he quickly snuck around the corner, jumped at you and growled to scare you. You innocently looked up at him and said, "Hi."

I don't want to forget that night when my heart just melted when I layed you down for bed. You always says "nigh nigh" to everyone when I tell you to, but after I read you your books, sang to you and rocked you, I put you in your crib, rubbed your back for a minute and said, "night night sweetie." As I turned around to leave the room I hear a sweet tiny voice say, "nigh, nigh." All on your own! I think I'll just die when you learn to say "I love you."

I don't want to forget that if there is an animal noise you don't know, you just assume they growl.

I don't want to forget your growl.

I don't want to forget how incredibly proud of you and impressed I am after one week of potty training. Day 1 was rough and I easily grew impatient. But Day 2, it just seemed to click with you. You haven't had a single 'pee-pee' accident since the morning of Day 2 and you've been able to stay dry through the night. You are so smart and catch on so quick. Just wow, kid!

I don't want to forget your new dance moves which include rocking your shoulders back and forth and arms in the air.

I don't want to forget how quickly your vocabulary has expanded in the past month. My favorite of your newest words is "i-pah" (ipod).

I don't want to forget that you actually asked to go to bed, twice this week. And by ask, I mean that you turned on your fan, walked into your room, pointed at your crib and very forcefully said, "nigh, nigh!!"

I don't want to forget your sweet personality, those unsolicited baby hugs and kisses you give and your incredible laugh. All of it makes my heart melt and I can't believe I get to be called your mom.

the idea for this post came from ali edwards, specifically her storyology class, which I absolutely loved.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

hiking near las vegas: a family day

I grew up in Las Vegas. I still haven't quite decided how I feel about it. It's unreasonably hot in the summer. The traffic is usually a nightmare. There are too many people in this desert. And it's dry, and landlocked.

But there are some days when I forget all of that and actually stop to appreciate some of the beauty that God placed around me.

A couple weeks ago, we took a family hiking trip (actually twice in 1 week) to Red Rock Canyon. It's just west of the Vegas valley; a quick 30 minute drive. And it's quite an escape from the usual desert landscape. The weather is a bit cooler, it's green and in some places there is running water (say wha??). But more than all of that, there are incredible mountains.

One of my 2012 goals was to get out of the house more often. Sometimes I feel like we do things to work toward that, and then there are whole weeks that Isaac and I haven't left the house. I think though, all in all, we have gotten out a lot more this year than we did last. This was definitely one of those times and we had a really good time as a family.

IMG_3657IMG_3658IMG_3662IMG_3665IMG_3668IMG_3673IMG_3677IMG_3680Someone got tired of walkingIMG_3685Our view today. Hiking
This was Isaac's first hiking trip. We kept joking about what he might be thinking. Something like, "Mom, I'm from the 'burbs. What are we doing walking through all this dirt, in the heat, in the sun!?" But he did really well. When he got tired he rode on Ben's back (and on his front for the 2nd hike, which was a little more strenuous). And the best part of all, it tired him out! He napped for hours after each trip. I think I've learned another good mom secret: take the kids hiking to wear them out!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

spitting image

From the very beginning, Ben and I have both agreed that Isaac definitely looks more like my side of the family than his. Depending on his facial expressions, he either looks like my younger brother, my dad or sometimes me. But we never really thought he looked like Ben.

...until my mom posted this photo of Ben on flickr the other day.

On the left: Ben at 2
On the right: Isaac at 18 months.

Spitting image? I think so!! Who'da thought that the boy actually looks exactly like his daddy!

ben - cowboy578947

(wasn't Ben the cutest little boy ever??)

Monday, October 15, 2012

the faithful God and how He answered a prayer

"Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations..." ~Deuteronomy 7:9

A good word right? I've been reading and meditating on this verse this week. God is faithful. Amen.

Can I just tell you a quick story so you can see why I say that with true conviction?

It all started when my family picked up everything to move to Las Vegas back in July. Since we're living with my parents, and I'm using a midwife, and there isn't a birth center in Vegas, my only option was a homebirth; which I was planning for in Texas, but in my own home. Basically it came down to: a homebirth in my parent's house. You can read that whole story here.

Like I said in my previous post, I am not overly excited about the idea. I have concerns about it. Not necessarily fear, but since it's not ideal, I'm having a hard time trusting God with it.

Or at least I was having a hard time trusting God with it. I was praying for peace in the whole situation; that no matter the outcome, I would leave it all up to Him because I didn't want it to affect my labor. And I wanted peace. And I wanted the entire situation to be for His glory, not for my comfort or ease.

So I prayed. And at the same time tried to think up a grand plan for how God would 'fix' the situation. I had 2 solutions in mind:
1. Ben would land a job before the birth that would allow us to move into our own place, even if it was a few days or weeks before 
2. God would completely put to ease my worry about birthing in a place that wasn't my own. And I continued to pray.

And then a 3rd solution presented itself; something that I didn't even think could be an option:

My midwife announced on facebook that on November 1 (18 days before my due date), the first birth center ever will be opening in Las Vegas.

What?!!?! Are you kidding me God? Did I read that right?

I promise, you read that right. And no, God was not kidding. He was for real. He is faithful.

I never considered a birth center to be an option because I distinctly remember the first conversation I ever had with my midwife. We discussed the fact that there is no birth center in Las Vegas and she told me that it's because it's so difficult to open one in Nevada. From the discussion, I got the impression that it wasn't something that she and the other midwives she worked with were interested in working toward, at least not right now.

Obviously I was wrong.

Can I just say, I sometimes wonder why we came to Vegas. I mean, that question still has not been answered. I've said before, I don't doubt my husband's decision to move us back here. But there are times that it feels like maybe we're in the wrong place. That is, until God shows us His faithfulness like He did that night. It was a blatant and loving reminder that He's with us. He hasn't forgotten us. He has called us and has a provision.

I love that verse from Deuteronomy. My God is the God. He is the faithful God. And He keeps His steafast love with me. Most of the time I believe those words because they are written in scripture and because God demonstrated His love when He sacrificed His son for me (which in itself is enough of a reason to stand firm on them!!!). But every now and then, He affords me the pleasure of seeing those words alive in real life, day to day events. And what a blessing that is.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

soaking up the sun

Last week Ben and I made a last-minute decision to take a 3 day trip to Oceanside, CA (San Diego). We used to live there and loved it for 6 whole years. Our hearts are still there, no question. He hasn't been back since we moved to Texas a year and a half ago, so he was definitely chomping at the bit to get back.

One of his friends from the Marine Corps was getting promoted and he asked Ben to attend the ceremony and pin him. It was quite an honor to be asked and something Ben did not want to miss. He requested the days off from work, but we didn't find out until Friday night if he would get the time off. Thankfully he did! We headed out Sunday night after he got off work (got there about 1 am and had a rough night getting Isaac to sleep at the hotel) and came home on Wed. It was a quick, but very much needed trip.

Packed and ready to go!IMG_3745IMG_3696IMG_3698This one is for you @fbintheordinary !!IMG_3734IMG_3716IMG_3720IMG_3728An oceanside must. Yum yum.IMG_3747IMG_3754IMG_3758IMG_3764IMG_3774IMG_3767IMG_3779IMG_3744I miss this!! #oceanside #marinelayerIMG_3784IMG_3787

*all packed and ready to go!
*we lived the fancy life at Motel 6 (can't beat the price and proximity to the beach)
*palm trees!
*Oceansie Pier
*feet in the sand for the first time in over a year!
*me and my sweet boy at the beach
*father and son
*feet in the ocean for the first time ever
*feet in the sand for the first time ever (and loving it)
*the best coffee cake ever (Beach Break Cafe in Oceanside)
*his new hat: the ice bucket
*beachfront property
*afraid to get in the ice-cold water
*me and my happy boy
*pointing at the trash truck
*pointing at the birds
*Oceanside Harbor
*relaxing on the hotel bed
*the hazy marine layer (that I miss so much!)
*34 weeks pregnant
*snacks on the hotel floor with dino
I cannot tell you how nice it was to get away for a few days, and to spend our time at the beach. I told Ben at breakfast on Monday that it felt like we were on vacation in Hawaii (that's how much I needed a vacation!). But seriously, the moist air, the cool breeze, the sound of the waves pounding the beach, the warm sun. It was perfect. We decided that from now on, we are going to take all of our vacations to Oceanside. If we can get there every year, we will. Because we love it. that. much. The end.