Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thankful on a Thursday: July

July is the busiest month of our lives every year. We always have plans for the 4th, then there's our anniversary and Kai's birthday. Each year there are also new birthdays, weddings, and other exciting things to add. I'm thankful for the busy-ness of it all because it means I have a lot of people to care for and people who care about us. I'm so blessed by the friends + family that we have!

This week I'm thankful for....

701. working a/c and a discounted repair thanks to a friend from my previous job! Chelsie, you + your family rock!

702. college friends. There are a few of us that are still super close and I love being able to have lasting relationships to look back on and see how we have all changed and grown.

703. a little getaway. We're going camping, so it won't be relaxing but it'll be an adventure!

704. my wiggly little baby boy. I get so busy with caring for Kai, our house, and preparing for things all day that I enjoy his little kicks to remind me to slow down and reflect.

705. my church family...for many many reasons.

706. the nice weather. We've had really mild temperatures so far and I've really enjoyed it.

707. and Amazon Mom/Subscribe and Save. 30% off diapers, delivered to my house in 2 days...yes please! This week I've also ordered Clif Bars, a nightlight for camping, training pants and newborn diapers.

708. hand-me-down maternity clothes. I am so lucky to have friends + family who are a similar size as me. Thanks Aimee for the great summer clothes!

709. my giving husband. He is my resting place.

710. my needy son. As a mama, it feels good to be needed sometimes.

What are you thankful for? I really want to know....leave me a comment even if it's 1 thing...or 20.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

clean + pack

Nothing too interesting to report today...only because I don't have to the time to blog. One of my besties from College, Carina, is coming to stay with us for a few days while she's on vacation. I'm so excited to spend some time with her and catch up. I haven't seen her since February, which is actually pretty recent for how often we go to the Portland area where she lives. She will probably be the last guest in our spare room before it turns into a play room (but we're planning on getting an air mattress so we can still have overnight guests...among the toys). 

In preparation for her coming, and for the long weekend coming up, I've been scouring the house and getting things organized. Clean clean clean, pack pack pack. Sweep, vacuum, dust, wash, fold, scrub, stack, organize...

We are going to attempt camping again this year. Having an (almost) two year old instead of an (almost) one year old should make some things easier and some things more difficult this time around. Add being in my 6th month of pregnancy and we may have a recipe for disaster. We're praying for fun instead. Feel free to pray with us, we could use the fun getaway. 

Once we get back we'll be celebrating our wedding anniversary, having a garage sale, then celebrating Kai's birthday, another bestie's wedding and planning for my baby shower. This summer is FLYING by!

What are your plans for the long weekend?

Don't forget to enter the two giveaways I have going on right now. One for Barielle nail strengthener that ends tomorrow and the other for an EcoMom gift card that ends on July 5th! Entries are low right now, so your chances are high!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

24 weeks

{another comparison, for 1st pregnancy stats visit here}

How far along? 24 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: +18lbs
Stretch marks? nothing new.
Maternity Clothes: bought some shorts + tanks at Old Navy this weekend, just in time for the...rain.
Sleep: I've gotten used to waking several times a night and am able to fall back asleep more easily.
Best moment this week: Malakai behaving perfectly for my last OB appointment. He was so interested in the doppler and blood pressure cuff that he just watched with awe. 
Movement: quite a bit, especially when I lean forward and he wants his space. 
Gender: BOY!
Labor Signs: nope.
Food Cravings: strawberry short cake. Good thing I just got a whole flat of fresh strawberries!
Belly Button in or out? flat.
What I miss: having a lap for Kai to sit in. He snuggles up next to me quite nicely though. 
What I am looking forward to: Camping...kind of. Praying that the toddler and the pregnant lady can co-sleep for 3 nights! Yikes!
Weekly Wisdom: pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting are the most difficult, selfless and rewarding things I've ever done. Being pregnant while caring for a toddler full time is sometimes really hard but it's so worth it. 
Baby Brain Moment of the Week: general forgetfulness as usual. I write down EVERYTHING.
Milestones: viability. At 24 weeks baby has a much higher chance of survival if born early. No signs of coming early, I haven't even had any braxton hicks yet. 


P.S. Visit my giveaway page for 2 ongoing reviews + giveaways. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

EcoMom Featured Product Review + Giveaway. CLOSED

Recently EcoMom sent some samples of a couple products that they carry. One is Nieves C Perfect Skin and the other was Bon Ami Dish Soap. A bit of a random pair, but both things I was wanting to try out.

Shandell's Review


I used the skin care oil first. I followed the directions to apply it to clean + damp skin and used it about 3 times in a row. It made my skin soft and didn't leave an oily finish. Sadly, I did break out after using it. I'm not sure whether or not it's related because my skin is super sensitive and even more so when I'm pregnant. I did stop using it and will keep it to try again when my skin isn't so overwhelmed with the pregnancy hormones coursing through my body, then maybe I'll get a more accurate response. From other user reviews it seems that even women when acne-prone skin are able to use it without problems. It has a pleasant but not overwhelming smell and best of all, the ingredients are all natural!

It is supposed to naturally reduce the appearance of scarring, sun spots, and other damage to the skin while reducing further damage from occurring. I do have one sun spot forming just above my cheek bone that I'll be sure to use the Perfect Skin oil on in the future.


I used the Bon Ami dish soap on some of the dishes that we can only hand wash. I was sent a sample of Tangerine + Thyme and Free + Clear. I tend to lean towards soaps and detergents that are unscented. I use free + clear laundry detergent and I had no idea that there was a such thing as free + clear dish soap! I was impressed with how well it cleaned and that it even got the coffee smell out of a plastic travel mug. I'm sold, and at $4.00 for 25 ounces I may be adding this to my shopping cart soon!


Now it's your turn to try these products or others from EcoMom. They are generously offering one reader of Breaking New Ground a $15 gift card!

Mandatory Entry:
Visit EcoMom's website and let me know what you would use the giftcard for.

Extra Entries:
~Like EcoMom on Facebook + share a link to this giveaway in your status. Be sure to leave a link to your status in your comment.
~Follow EcoMom on Twitter + tweet this giveaway, including a link to this post. Be sure to leave a link to your tweet in your comment.

This giveaway will end on  Tuesday July 5th . Wednesday July 6th. Winner will be announced + notified shortly after.

Please be sure that your email address is accessible through your blogger profile, on your site, linked to your open ID or within your comment (format shanleann1 at gmail dot com) so I can notify you if you win. Otherwise, you forfeit your chances.

Winner will be selected at random via and will have 48 hours to respond to an email in order to claim the prize or it will be awarded to an alternate. 
Comments subject to removal without notification based on their relevance to contest. All comments will be verified. So, please be sure to follow instructions carefully. Questions? As always click on the "email me" button to send me a message. Please do not leave a comment here that isn't intended to be an entry into the giveaway. 

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this giveaway. All opinions are my own. EcoMom  sent me sample sizes of the above products for the purpose of review.  Click for additional disclosures and PR policies.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Barielle Nail Care Review + Giveaway {CLOSED}

I had the opportunity to review some of Barielle's  nail care products recently, just in time for summer. I received their Total Foot Care Cream, Nail Strengthener Cream, and Nail Polish in "U-Concrete Me"


I used the Foot Care Cream before bed so it could work while I slept. It has a nice baby powder smell that isn't too overpowering. The directions recommend wearing cotton socks, and I'd say the same as it's so thick and takes a while to soak in so you wouldn't want to walk barefoot after using it. I think it works well as smoothing dry spots + callouses. 


I also used the nail strengthener cream at night. I wash my hands so frequently during the day it just seemed to make the most sense to use it before bed when I wouldn't be washing it off. My nails are a lot stronger and break less, but I could also attribute this to pregnancy.


I don't paint my fingernails very often, but always have to have color on my toes. I really like this light gray color and received a lot of compliments on it. You can even change the shade to be a bit darker if you add more coats.

I am also quite pleased with how long the nail polish lasts as I tend to not have time to redo my polish for a long time. Before trying this color it has been about 6 months since I had last painted my toes. That's normal for the cold months, right?



Now it's your turn to try Barielle's nail care products! They are giving one reader of Breaking New Ground their top-selling Nail Strengthener Cream.

Mandatory Entry:
~Visit Barielle's website and tell me what nail color you'd like to try for summer.

Additional Entries:
~"Like" Barielle's Facebook page.
~Share a link to this giveaway as your Facebook status. (leave a link to the status in your comment)
~"Follow" Barielle's Twitter page.
~Tweet a link to this giveaway. (leave a link to the tweet in your comment)

This giveaway will close on Thursday June 30th. Winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

Please be sure that your email address is accessible through your blogger profile, on your site, linked to your open ID or within your comment (format shanleann1 at gmail dot com) so I can notify you if you win. Otherwise, you forfeit your chances.

Winner will be selected at random via and will have 48 hours to respond to an email in order to claim the prize or it will be awarded to an alternate. 
Comments subject to removal without notification based on their relevance to contest. All comments will be verified. So, please be sure to follow instructions carefully. Questions? As always click on the "email me" button to send me a message. Please do not leave a comment here that isn't intended to be an entry into the giveaway. 

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this giveaway. All opinions are my own. Barielle sent me the above products for the purpose of review.  Click for additional disclosures and PR policies.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thankful on a Thursday: summer time

Well it's officially summer, and while others complain about the Willamette Valley's inconsistent weather, I'm quite used to it...and fond of the breaks the cooler days bring from the heat waves. We haven't had much of a heatwave just yet, but it'll come and then everyone will complain about that too. Is that normal for every region?

This week I'm thankful for...

691. mischievous moments. Sometimes I can't help but take pictures before redirecting...
{caught digging in the bark}

692. edible strawberries from our garden = strawberry shortcake!

693. pleasant outings with Malakai. We ran a ton of errands yesterday and he was a doll almost the entire time! We picked up gifts at Target and he marveled over the shoes, we went to the OB's office and he sat in his stroller and watched with interest, I had a meeting at the church and he played in the nursery, then we went grocery shopping after nap and he held a mango for me and repeated the names of all the foods and said hello + goodbye to every stranger we passed.

694. a break in the summer heat that had really just started...mostly because our a/c isn't working!

695. grocery sales. I got a bunch of cake mix for Kai's birthday cupcakes, it's getting so close!

696. switching from high chair to booster. We put the big bulky high chair away and have Kai eating right up to the table now. He's doing a great job and we have more space in the dining room.

697. new recipe inspiration. I borrowed Deceptively Delicious from the library and am hoping to try out some new recipes soon!

698. restful sleep that brings relief from this week's constant back pain.

699. eating outside. I LOVE to sit outside and eat dinner in the warm summer weather.

700. funny toddler moments. Kai is full of new sayings + quirks these days.
This day he insisted on keeping daddy's sunglasses on his head, having his pants off, but his socks on...while eating a snack and watching a little Elmo. I love seeing different aspects of his personality as time goes by.

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I am 23 weeks pregnant and Malakai is 23 months old. Time is escaping me faster than ever before. I can only imagine it will speed up even more when our second son arrives in October. I try to slow down the days by watching and taking note of Malakai's growth as well as my own. 


We didn't take time to do the normal belly photos this week, but these pictures are from yesterday after Kai's nap. He rarely cuddles and I embraced the moment, barely moving so as to not cut it short. I thought to myself that this could be the easiest it'll ever be to hold both of my boys at the same time. 


How far along? 23 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: no clue, hopefully not much more since our last appointment.
Stretch marks? nothing new.
Maternity Clothes: I could use some warm weather clothes, anybody know of some good deals on maternity clothes? Second hand would be awesome!
Sleep: miserable again due to the return of heartburn + backpain.
Best moment this week: cuddle time with Malakai.
Movement: lots of kicks, punches + rolls as usual. 
Gender: BOY!
Labor Signs: nope.
Food Cravings: cake + ice cream. will someone please have a birthday party + invite me?
Belly Button in or out? flat.
What I miss: nothing really. despite the aches + pains I rather enjoy pregnancy. 
What I am looking forward to: my appointment tomorrow, my doc will start measuring my belly.
Weekly Wisdom: take each comment with a grain of salt. A checker at walmart on Saturday asked me "Getting close?" I responded with "not really" and then pouted all the way to the car. I know I don't look 9 months pregnant, but I was already having one of those days. 
Baby Brain Moment of the Week: At dinner with my in-laws I started to put cucumbers on my spaghetti instead of my salad. I got about 4 slices before I stopped to wonder what I was doing. Everyone else was just as confused as I.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Daddy's Weekend

This weekend was allll about daddy! On Thursday night, my sweet husband asked me out on a date...for Friday. Sadly, it didn't work out because it was fairly last minute for asking someone to watch Kai. We have a raincheck, possibly next Friday. We've got some groupon + living social deals to use for a real cheap, but fun movie date! Instead, my brother came over to spend the night and played xbox with Ben for most of the evening.

We basically celebrated Father's Day on Saturday since we would be at church for half the day on Sunday. I made pancakes for the boys (with chocolate chips for Ben), and we lounged around for a bit. Late in the morning we headed out to the hardware store to pick up a few things and I told Ben part of his gift was to pick out the light fixture he's been eyeing for the garage. He was pretty happy about that. I also picked up some cages for my tomatoes.

When we got home we had lunch and Malakai took a nap. Meanwhile Ben played xbox (he doesn't get to play video games very often) and I went to work on making Father's Day cards for our dads and grandpas. When Kai woke up we ran another errand and then headed to Red Robin for dinner, daddy's choice. Malakai devoured his burger and did pretty great the entire time. Once we got him to bed we settled in to watch a movie.

On Sunday we were at church all morning. Ben + I attended service together and the went our seperate ways for 2nd service. He volunteered in the 1st-4th grade class and I was back and forth between my nursery classrooms and my office. Ben volunteers his time almost every single Sunday at our church. He can be found anywhere from the children's ministries, the worship team (playing bass or leading), and on Thursdays he's been helping with the High School group. Not only is he an attentive Father and husband who works 45 hours a week, but he's a dedicated volunteer. We are one lucky family to have him leading us through life.

After church we ate leftovers for lunch and Malakai took maybe a 10 minute nap. So we gave daddy his gifts...

{Kai was more interested in the box than posing with daddy}

Here's a little "behind the scenes" at Malakai's painting adventure. We used Crayola Ta-Doodles paint things, which Ben had bought last year to make my Mother's Day painting. They are supposed to be easy to use and not messy...I found them to be SUPER messy as the paint is really thin and splatters.


Kai got it all over his hands (more so than on the paper) so I went to get a washcloth and came back to this...


Like I said, messy.

We gave daddy the painting, a barbecue scrubber, and a photo card from Tiny Prints. Then we headed over to drop off Grandpa Ron's Father's Day gift and then to my family's house to celebrate with G'Pa Jim. We had great food and spent time watching Kai run around their property. He loved looking for the "mow-mow's" (cats) and chasing their dog "Behwa" (Bella) and of course some playtime with G'Pa.

{monkey see- monkey do}

{he was not a fan of mama trying out his toy}

We had a great weekend full of family + food. How did you celebrate the dads in your life this Father's Day?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thankful on a Thursday: Like a Flood

All this week I've had the chorus from Like a Fire by Planetshakers stuck in my head.

Come like a flood and saturate me now
You’re all I want

Come like the wind and sweep throughout this place
You’re all we want

It's what comes to mind when I think of all the blessing that has been piled upon us lately. It's coming from all sides, like a flood. Usually people refer to hardships by saying "when it rains, it pours". Earlier this week Ben tweeted "Praise Him from whom all blessings flow. And when it pours!"  and I found myself with a new perspective on the depth of suffering versus the depth of blessing. I've been blessed big in my lifetime before, but I am really feeling this down pour of provision and protection from God like never before. 

If you aren't aware of what I'm referring to, be sure to read yesterday's post and it will be obvious what I'm thankful for this week...

As if that blessing weren't enough, there's more.

This week I'm beyond thankful for...

681. Not only are we covered for nearly all Kai's surgery costs, but we are covered until April 2012 for future costs we incur through that particular medical group. Memorial Day, we took Kai to Urgent Care for a sprained ankle...covered. In October, our baby is born at the same hospital...covered (besides my OBGYN costs). 

682. The opportunity to buy Ben's parents' car that we are constantly borrowing at a VERY affordable price. This won't happen for another month or two, but I am REALLY looking forward to having a car!

683. The return of Malakai's appetite...for the most part. 

{loves chips + salsa just like daddy. Bananas + spaghetti sauce are yummy too}

684. The confidence Ben has in our God. Sometimes he had to bring me back to the knowledge that God would provide, and provide He did!

685. Volunteers. Summer is difficult for consistent volunteers in kid's ministry, but I have some very faithful people putting in extra shifts and a handful of new volunteers eager to serve!

686. the sunshine + the rain. Both of which are making my first garden grow, grow, grow!

687. How my dear husband is always making me laugh...

{he came down dressed like this after going through things at his parent's house}

688. a library card. I borrowed some kids books about gardening and waiting for baby for Kai and Deceptively Delicious for me. I can't wait to try out some of the recipes!

689. a quiet house while my sweet boy naps. This has been a rough week for sleep...Kai is definitely cutting those 2 year molars. 

690. A mother-in-law who babysits, and a father-in-law who sprays our weeds while I'm at work.

What are you thankful for this week?

Green Town Toys White Citadel Winner

I am a bit shocked at the low entries in this giveaway, but hey, better odds for those that did enter!
The winner of the White Citadel from Green Town Toys is...


I've emailed you, please respond in 48 hours so I don't have to choose an alternate. 

More giveaways coming in the near future, but we'll be taking a break from them for just a bit to breath and reset from all the crazy prize madness going on around here. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Gift + A Hope: Giveaway Winner, Fundraiser Totals, + Updates

First, to all involved...

{thank you}

Our little family has been so blessed by the generosity of family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers near + far. As this little project of mine began to blossom I was floored by the response at each interval. First the amazing sponsors who donated from their shops, many of their items handmade. Please be sure to visit them. Then the 26+ who shared about our fundraiser through twitter, facebook, blog posts and other social media. Many more shared and did not take part in the giveaway portion. Last, to the 12 donors who contributed generously of their own hard earned money to help our family in a time of need. We rejoiced at each donation and have seen God's provision come forth through your giving.

Of the free entries and donations combined there were 132 total entries, and today I announce the one winner. I hope those of you who do not get the fantastic prize aren't disappointed, but are blessed to have been a blessing. Each of your entries received a number based on the order your comment or donation was received. The winner was chosen by plugging the numbers in at just like any of my other giveaways so as to make things fair.

The winner of my biggest giveaway yet will receive items from the 11 sponsors. A total of over $300 in prizes! Without further delay, congratulations to...


I will email you directly. Please respond in 48 hours to claim the prize package. 

Now, on to the fundraiser updates. The final total of financial contributions towards Malakai's Surgery fund is...


We continue to be overwhelmed by this number. Partly because of it's generous size but also because of it's meaning. You see, beyond this fundraiser there is a God at work who put the little details into place to provide for our family. I knew that before and I know it even more now because of how these details revealed themselves. 

Here's a little history. Back in April, before I launched this fundraiser and before Kai even had his surgery I applied for a financial assistance program through the hospital where his procedure would take place. As I mentioned in the original post, our insurance has an extremely high deductible that we'd have to meet to even get partial coverage, leaving us on our own to cover the expense of his surgery, just 5 short months before adding another little boy to our household. You can see how the dollar signs begin to add up. The assistance program I applied for was very detailed and lengthy, but I was willing to put in the work if there was even a slight chance we could receive some help. Another helpful part about applying was that while our application was under review, all our bills would be on hold with no penalties. At the very least this would allow us time to save + raise money before our first payment would be due.

On Monday we received a letter about our financial assistance application. As Ben + I opened the letter I   lifted up a prayer in my head for God's will to take place. We both skimmed over the details silently and then my eyes came across "100%" and I clasped my hand over my mouth and gasped as I pointed it out to Ben. We weren't sure exactly what that meant, but we knew it would be significant. Yesterday I called the hospital for details and found out that anything that was done by professionals in the group that we applied for assistance through would be covered completely. I made about 6 more phone calls that morning to find out what was covered and what wasn't.

After 90 minutes on the phone and mounds of notes + paperwork spread out before me I had learned that all but 2 of our bills would be covered. With the surgery there were 6 different bills between the visits before + after his procedure, the surgery itself including the hospital, surgeon, anesthesia... Before any coverage the bills would amount to nearly $10,000. After assistance kicked in we are left with an amount almost identical to the funds raised here by all of you.

To us, this is evidence of our God at work. While we want to give all of you credit for your contributions and we are so thankful for each and every one of you, we give the glory to God for bringing this diverse community together and meeting a need that seemed out of reach. 

Please accept our humble gratitude and be blessed to have taken part in something truly amazing. This is also why we are no longer accepting donations. I had mentioned keeping the Deposit a Gift page open as well as adding a donate button here through paypal, but with everything covered we are no longer in need!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

jam packed

Last weekend was packed full during just about every waking hour. Friday night was my brother's High School graduation and party.


Saturday I went in for a much needed hair cut and did a little shoe shopping. I have no sandals that fit me except plain plastic flipflops, which don't really feel church/work appropriate. After lunch I headed out to a baby shower for Ben's cousin. When I got home we did a bit more shoe shopping and I finally found something to fit my expanding feet (they aren't swelling, but spreading!) and had Five Guys for dinner. Then I set to work on cutting Malakai's hair.

Here is an example of how badly we both needed some cleaning up around the edges...

{lots + lots of wavy hair}

The first two times I cut Kai's hair I used scissors. He moved a lot and the 2nd time it took me about 3 days to finish. This time I wanted to worry less about scissors around his head and I also wanted to give him a shorter cut for the warm weather. I cut Ben's hair so we already had clippers. I pretended to use them on Ben first to show Kai that they aren't scary. He also had a he was a pretty happy camper.


When he started to move too much Ben got out the ipod and played him a few clips of Elmo but every time it would end he would wiggle more. It was Toy Story 3 on Netflix instant that saved us, he was totally zoned out and I finished up the edges.


Here we are afterward with our hair looking much more polished. Although mine is pulled back, you can see a better photo of my new cut here. It's still long but 5 inches shorter than it used to be, I also get it texturized/thinned out to make it more manageable. I usually also get my bangs cut but I'm attempting to grow them out. It had been a year since my last haircut, I'm so bad about that!

On Sunday morning Ben + I barely recognized Malakai with his big boy haircut. He seemed to grow up before our eyes...stop it kiddo! The 3 of us went to church together for the first time in about 8 months. Usually one of us has to be there significantly earlier than the other, but the stars aligned and we went in together!

I had been up since 3:45am so I ate lunch and passed out for a much needed nap. Later we headed to Mima, G'Pa + Aunt Nans' to visit. Cody was gone on a camping trip with his friends to celebrate graduation. We ate + visited and Kai got some horseplay in with G'Pa. Then just like that Monday rolled around.

Today is the LAST DAY to enter A Gift + A Hope Fundraiser and Giveaway. Not only will the giveaway be closing at 11pm PDT, but I will also be closing all options for donations. I will announce the winner tomorrow along with the fundraiser totals and additional updates. Even if you aren't entering the giveaway, you won't want to miss tomorrow's update!

Remember, your first entry is free and SUPER easy. Just click on the button to go to the post and read the details. Who would want to miss out on a free entry for $300 worth of awesome prizes? Even if you aren't interested in the products you could knock a whole lot of people off your gift giving lists if you win!

And for those of you who just looove giveaways, I also have a Green Town Toys giveaway going on. It ends on Wednesday June 15th and all entries are free. There are multiple ways to enter to up your chances of winning one of the most awesome kid's toys EVER.

Monday, June 13, 2011

22 weeks + giveaway reminder


How far along? 22 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 12 lbs. as of my last appointment on 5.26. I don't weigh myself at home.
Stretch marks? no new ones.
Maternity Clothes: mostly, but not in the above photo!
Sleep: awful. seems to be happening significantly earlier than last time around.
Best moment this week: watching my little bro graduate high school and getting a haircut.
Movement: lots of kicks + punches and the occasional somersault. 
Gender: BOY!
Labor Signs: nope.
Food Cravings: not really. my appetite has been a bit off lately.
Belly Button in or out? flat.
What I miss: certain skincare and medical products that are a no-no during pregnancy. 
What I am looking forward to: figuring out the details of my baby shower in August. 
Weekly Wisdom: know your physical limits and stop BEFORE you think you've hit them!
Baby Brain Moment of the Week: general forgetfulness that sometimes resembles short-term memory loss. 

Our giveaway + fundraiser for Kai's surgery ends tomorrow night! While we'll keep the fundraiser option open, and add other ways to donate, the giveaway portion will be over at 11pm tomorrow night. Get your free entry in by sharing the giveaway on facebook, twitter, your blog or other social media + adding a comment to the post. Then donate for only $5 per entry. We've got less than 100 total entries for $300 worth of awesome products, so the odds are really good! Check out the post for more details and feel free to spread the word even if you have already entered!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

without complaining

This morning I woke up at 3:45am (it's now 5:30am). I knew by how alert my mind was that I probably wasn't going to be falling back to sleep, even though I had over 2 hours before the alarm sounded. I tried laying in different positions, nothing is comfortable for very long. I tried quieting my mind, which means I only thought of work, cleaning + organizing, other future obligations, and of course spiders lurking in the shadows of my room.

It took me about 30 minutes before I decided to pray. At first I prayed for sleep. Then I thought I should pray for God to either give me rest of talk to me in the stillness of our house. I instantly thought "Do everything without complaining." I knew I needed to hear this because I had just whispered how long I'd been awake to Ben who was most likely not awake at all. Not remembering the book or verse I resolved to look it up...after I got the sleep I deserved, which didn't come.

Then I started to think about following Jesus, what it means to me and why I shouldn't be so quick to whine and complain even if I'm fully justified in doing so. The following thought came to me, a bit jumbled at first, I thought about it over and over until it came more clearly.

-Following Jesus isn't about adhering to a set of religious rules. - Following Jesus is about learning how to love others and spread the good news of amazing grace. -

I considered getting up to write it down, but then I thought of a million reasons not to. "I should really try to sleep." and "I may wake the rest of the house." I lay there a bit longer and tried again to clear my mind and fall asleep. After another 10 minutes I finally go up and headed to the living room. I wrote down what I had heard. Then I sat at the computer and pulled up today's Bible reading through our church's website. I scrolled down to the New Testament passage, Philippians 2.

I thought God must have been speaking to me about following Jesus when I read the first paragraph:

"1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus..."

Then I knew God had been speaking to me when I read further:

"14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing..."

It's often difficult to find quiet times to listen for God's voice. I let it get drowned out by all kinds of noise, both literal and figurative. I put what I think I need (sleep) over what God knows I need. So I'm going to trust God to get me through the morning because a little lost sleep is surely worth hearing His voice in the stillness.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Today my little brother graduates from High School. It's blowing my mind. We're 11 years apart so I remember his entire childhood. I'm sure my mom is beside herself at this point, he's her last kiddo to graduate and go off to college.


{circa 1992}

I'm a bit of a mess, but I can blame that on pregnancy...right? Ben has been saying "Cody is graduating from High School this week." for days now and I just told him to be quiet. I wasn't ready to think about it. Today when I found these photos it hit me and now I'm a goner...

This is what Cody looked like when Ben met him 6 years ago. 

{5th grade graduation, 2005}

Cody has probably changed the most out of the three of us over the years. Just two years later...

{December 2007}

Some of you may remember when I took his senior photos in September. This year went by fast!


My sister Amanda graduated two years ago, I was 8 months pregnant with Malakai. Funny how their graduations have coincided with my pregnancies. I just realized that it's a distinct possibility that I'll be pregnant at her college graduation too. Photos of our family events are going to make it look like I'm always with child. 

{June 2009}

{September 2010}

Needless to say I'll be packing some tissues (I totally cried at Amanda's graduation) and of course our cameras. I'm so proud of you Lil Brudder Cody, congratulations!


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