A few things I don’t want to forget about right now

One of my friends, MegganHarrisonPhotography asked if she could come over and try out her new camera lens in our home. I’ll be honest. I totally forgot about it, definitely didn’t bathe, the house wasn’t clean or put together and I didn’t have any expectations about what she might capture… But man, I am seriously so grateful for these captures. This stage of motherhood has been so interesting to me. I’m learning so much about myself and who I am as a mother and home educator and friend and wife and all the things. I am so grateful that I get to be home with these girls and very grateful for these little moments that might seem mundane, but are truly so full of magic! 

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Our first born. I can hardly believe she’s this grown already.

 

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We got a record player and there’s just something magical about it. Norah puts on a different record almost daily and it’s become a fun family thing. When we travel, we try and find a good record store and pick something out together. Chris and the girls often come home from coffee shop dates and it’s just something that’s become very special in our home.

Norah’s taking 7 very seriously. 

Norah asked me the other day if I thought she would look like me when she grew up. Before answering, I asked what she thought about maybe looking more like me when she was older. She took a deep breath in, pulled her hair to the side, looked in the mirror, breathed out, looked at me and said, “that would be so great.”😭😭😭😍😍😍I’ve never felt more beautiful in my whole life😭

We were driving as a family a few weeks ago and Norah asked me what my name meant. I told her ‘worthy of love’. They asked Chris what his name meant and he said virile. Norah then proceeded to tell me that her name meant napkin, Charlie’s meant towel, Ada name meant tissue and Frankie was “scrunchin, wait scroungey.. OH! squeegee!”  I laughed out loud and asked Chris where they came up with such a thing. He let me know that he’s been telling them these are what their names mean for a few months😂😂😂 #winning😂😂😂

The girls all still love wearing their favorite colors: Pink, blue, orange and grey. These colors make me so happy now.

Frankie and Ada are in love with dresses with pockets. They request to wear a pocket dress daily:D

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I joke that Norah is like a little mommy, but she truly loves us all so well and has such a beautiful heart. I love seeing the creative ways they serve and love others.

 

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We went to get blood work for my whole October fiasco a few weeks ago and decided a stop at Red Robin would be a good idea. We don’t go often, but when we do, they each get a balloon and these things stay inflated for weeks!

We’re still having lots of dance parties, doing funny workout videos together and Chris and I love getting to introduce the girls to new music. They’re favorite songs/ bands right now are , Aladdin soundtrack, zombie from the cranberries, John mark McMillan, what does the fox say, Allen stone, thunder from imagine dragons, gummi bear, señorita, BABY SHARK, bird machine, oldies, bird is the word, bombaleo, look what you made me do- and Frankie singing this is one of the funniest things I’ve ver known. She repeats the lyrics but delayed and totally monotoned. its so funny!

Charlie and Norah have been what I will call sassy. They have grown up so much the last few months.

Frankie is in the repeat stage and the things she chooses to repeat and her timing brings us so much joy.

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So many times during the day, the girls ask for a hug or for me to pick them up. I try to always do it. something so simple, but memories I will hold so dear.

Frankie’s favorite song, ‘5 little monkeys jumping on the bed’. When it comes on she’s screams, “This is my tadert song!”

A few weeks ago Chris and I were putting Frankie to sleep and she kept doing monkey impressions. She would almost be asleep and then she would say, “Monkeys do dis” and shake her little body and make little monkey noises and make a monkey face. Chris and I couldn’t stop giggling. 

Norah and Charlie surprise me with breakfast in bed every couple of weeks. It’s so precious. They always include their sisters and make their breakfasts when they do this.

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Ada sneezed this a few week ago and Frankie said, bess you😍 it melted all of us! Frabkie, “I lub my bading soup” on repeat and now asks, you love my bading soup? Her bathing suit. Her and Ada put their suits on most days. Ada and Frankie change their outfits at least 4 time a day. 

When Frankie says basket it most definitely does not sound like the word basket. Ie: I want my batshit.:D 

I weened Frankie on her birthday, September 20th. I nursed her for her morning & afternoon nap and then told her we were done. My heart hurts a little still and she’s still asking to nurse daily. She still asks me if she can come in when I hold her and that means she wants me to wrap her all up in my shirt. This is the longest I haven’t breastfed since 2012.

MHP_3981MHP_3986Frankie started saying dangit and growls at everyone at the table for meals because she knows it will make her sisters laugh real good. She loves making them laugh. 

Frankie has mastered responding to my favorite question: What comes before part B?! PART A!!!! When I ask it all the girls yell, “PART AAAA”, and it assures me I’ve at least taught them something:D

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We were driving to get pick up our favorite Italian take out and Ada started singing that song, “Up down funk you up” and totally nailed the f word every time. Chris and I laughed pretty good. That song will always make me smile now.

Frankie started saying “iontknow” when we ask her questions with the funniest little attitude 😂😂😂  It’s one of the best things I’ve ever heard.

The way Frankie crawls up onto our bench to get into her bed. Something about it melts me.

I made the girls little lavender pillows and they’re all still sleeping with them.

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Frankie says “heh heh” just like a Simpsons character when something funny happens.

Charlie will quietly sneak away while we’re watching a movie or playing games and come back with a glass full of ice and water and the biggest smile on her face. It’s her way of saying, “I love you” right now and it’s so sweet. 

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Frankie talks more than any two year old I’ve ever known. She repeats us often and her voice is so dang cute. She has a little cold right now and it’s even cuter than normal. She’s super cuddly and loves snuggling but has never liked her legs covered.

Charlie gave Ada a haircut that required her getting bangs to “fix” the situation. She was made to have bangs I think. Ada loves her having bangs and tells people her friend Hannah made them for her.

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Our dear friend Hannah gifted the girls with kinder eggs and these were the little toys inside. They’ve all been wearing them as earrings since.

Right around 7pm every night, Frankie gets this second wind and gets super hyper and so funny! That usually tells us it’s time to dance or play tag or hide and seek. We’re really into hide and seek right now and it’s so fun!

Ada has started making up songs and parody’s and recently sang a song with the lyrics, “1,23, it’s time to sh&t”😂😂😂😂😂Chris and I laughed so hard! 

Frankie has started coming up to us, randomly hugging us, and saying,” I wuv you. I wuv you iso much, mommy. You wuv me?!”  😭  It melts me every time!

Ada and Frankie want to be sung to every night. We have a handful of songs they request every night. ‘Jesus loves me’, ‘Apples and bananas’, ‘God is so good’, ‘I like bananas’, ‘Twinkle twinkle’, ‘Abc’s’, often a remix of the last two, ‘He’s got the whole world in His hands’, and ‘Jesus loves the little children’ but we had to add the color orange to make the lyrics, “orange, red, yellow, black, and white” per Ada’s request. We often have to add pink, blue, and grey as well:D

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I’ve noticed I have less and less photos of Charlie lately. She loves spending time alone, creating art, making sculptures out of found goods, and collecting treasures to store in special places in her room. When you walk by her room, she’s usually creating something. She loves putting on puppet shows, telling stories, and is truly so creative. She really enjoys ‘I Spy’ books. I ordered her a bunch and surprised her with them and she was so stoked! School comes super easy to her lately and her sweet little 5 year old self is excelling past a 3rd grade reading level. I just love getting to know her more.

Every time Charlie prays, she asks for God to heal all the people that are sick and hurting.

All of us ladies still fit in the bath together, but barely.

Ada and Frankie both call,”Cat in the hat’ ‘Hat in the Cat’.

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If I sit down with a drink or food , this is code for , ‘mom has drinks and treats for us’. 😀 This morning I made an egg and sat it down on my desk for it to cool while I ran up to find the girls’ coats… I came back downstairs to see Frankie covered in my egg and exclaiming, “mmm, you egg good, mom.” It never makes me mad.. just sometimes a little extra hungry.

Frankie calls the girls, “guysh” and is so in love with her older sisters!

The first thing the girls want to do when they put on anything new is show their dad.

When Frankie wants you to lay by her she says, “youwannlaywithme?” and taps the pillow next to her and says “hereygo”. She also started taking her diaper off whenever she fills it… so probably we’ll start potty training soon.

Norah wants her ears pierced and she’s in a making jewelry and fake nails stage:D She has been wearing a lot of my clothes and it makes me so happy.

Frankie likes to kick for fun and will randomly approach people with a “Hiya!” and a chubby little kick. She also hisses at the girls when they tell her no to something and its SO funny! They always start laughing and it’s just so cute!

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I’ve started making sure I always have a glass of water on our nightstand, as it never fails that 1, or all 4, will make it to our room asking for water during the night.

We watched Little Women for the first time while Chris was out of town recently and sobbed. I love being apart of this girl gang. We realized that the girls’ age gaps are the same as the girls in the story and that one of our best friends who we keep trying to get to move in with us shares the same name as the house help in the story. But seriously Hannah, the basement is ready for you. 

Frankie so concerned about owies, especially when others get hurt. “You k?!” she asks?

Chris learned how to fishtail braid from our local hair academy and is so much better than me. These girls don’t realize how good they have it.

We were cleaning up the girls’ rooms and Frankie found Norahs old pink flip flops. She put them off and didn’t take them off after that😂 Fipfop she calls them and is so proud of them! She sleeps in them she loved them so much!😂

We told the girls to put away their flip flops while cleaning and Ada replied in the saddest little voice, “I don’t have any flip flops”. Chris and I decided to change that. I took her to Old Navy and we found this lobster pair for $1 that she freaked out about. She wears them with socks and tights daily:D I told her once my dad wore socks with flip flops. She asked me if she looked like her Grandpa Ricky. Having her talk about my dad is incredibly special. They never met him, but I’m so grateful for the memories I get to share with them. She’s also been sporting the, ‘two different boots on the wrong feet’ a lot lately.

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This landing never isn’t covered in boots or coats or piles of random toys… It’s accidentally become a catch-all spot and while we probably need a better system, I still don’t want to forget this.

There’s a lot more. I try to take daily notes because I don’t want to forget these tiny details that make right now so special. I love being a mother. I hate that I can suck so badly at it sometimes. We’re all learning together.

Make a joyful noise

This summer I had a fun opportunity present itself. I was put in touch with a local vocal instructor as she was looking for a local blogger to check out her classes. I am always looking for fun classes for the girls to try out and happen to dabble in the blogging, so it worked out just right! We talked about the classes that were going to be offered over the summer and I got so excited when she said she was teaching a Greatest Showman vocal class! The girls are obsessed with ‘The Greatest Showman’, so much so that we dressed as the crew for Halloween this past year! 

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Maybe not our best..but with little moneys and what we had.. we made it work and the girls were so pumped!!!

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the class, but I signed Norah and Charlie up and was so happy I did. We want to let the little ladies experience lots of different things to help them discover what it is they love and the explore the gifts they’ve been given.  They had been showing lots of interest in singing and I am happy to share that they truly had a blast!

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Side note, have I mentioned lately how much I love Norah and Charlie being so close I’m age?! I’ve always loved it, but now it allows them to be in most of the same classes and is just so cool to me! They’re basically inseparable and it’s very special to me that they get to enjoy so many awesome things like this together! Sisterhood is the coolest thing! 

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I got emotional thinking about the two of them and how it almost always feels like they’ve had one another. I had to find the very first time they met, and my first photo with both of them, right after our home water birth with Charlie. It was the most special moment!

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Like… I can’t even…this moment was so special. Norah was instantly in love and Charlie was just born into such a cool relationship.

Okay, so let me tell you a little bit about the class and why I am happy we enrolled the girls! Melissa Burrows is the owner of Joyful Noise Studios and has been a licensed Kindermusik® educator since 2009 along with teaching private piano and vocal lessons. She teaches music at our local Classical Education Center and is very passionate about what she does. It was easy to see upon first meeting her that she loves what she does, and that excited me. 

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As a home educator, it’s important to me that I give the girls opportunities to socialize in different atmospheres, with different peers, instructors, and influences. I found a lot of comfort in knowing that they were being taught by someone who genuinely cares about what they’re doing.

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The more research I have done, the more I discover that the benefits of music are truly transformational. Chris is currently teaching Norah ukulele and it’s so exciting thinking about where their passion for music will take them. They’ve been talking a lot about forming a band like the Cranberries and are already staring to write songs. One of the things they have been doing since they were old enough to sing is making parodies out of their favorite songs and it will always be one of my favorite little things they do.

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“The study, practice and discipline of making music gives the brain a complete workout.  When you sing or create music, we use all the parts of the brain: left, right, front and back.  All these parts collaborate.  Which is something very unique!  To access the benefits of music one does not need to be an artist! Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than those without musical training.  Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory.  Research has shown that after two years of music class the brain has large improvements in processing speech and reading.  Beyond all the brain science music is fun and is an easy way to challenge the mind and bring joy!”-Melissa Burrows.

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These are just a few reasons that enrolling the girls into these classes seemed like a great idea! The girls met for an hour each week and it was so fun listening to the girls practice their little vocal warm ups and songs they were learning throughout the week! I also didn’t mind the little weekly break to grab coffee and thrift with the younger ladies.☺️ They practiced and practiced and celebrated with the most darling recital at the end of the Summer where Melissa had all of her classes join together for the Greatest Show (pun intended:)

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If you are on the hunt for vocal classes for your littles, I highly recommend Melissa and her classes at Joyful Noise Studios! We also tried one of the family Kindermusik classes that was so fun! Chris got super into it and I know the girls loved it!

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Melissa is accepting enrollments now and offering $15 off any class when you enroll using the code, AmandaPahls.

Thank you for giving us this opportunity, Melissa, and we look forward to more classes with you! 

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“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.”-Plato

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Chris and I could not stop laughing at the girls on stage. They were being so sweet and goofy and maybe still need a few lessons about what not to do when on stage:D So special getting to watch them perform what they had been practicing though!

Disclaimer: This post was made possible thanks to Melissa Burrows and Joyful Noise Studios, but all opinions expressed are my own.

That time Madewell accidentally changed my life

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About a year ago I received the sweetest surprise package from our friends at Madewell. It was a beautiful wooden box containing a lovely red floral scarf, a timeless white tee and THE PERFECT denim jacket.I was so excited and grateful and honored to be gifted this, as I was a new appreciator of the Madewell goodies! I have slowly been building a capsule wardrobe with Madewell pieces being my staples. Everything I own from Madewell is so comfortable, so flattering, and well, made very well ☺️

The only problem with this surprise gift was that the shirt and jacket were a size small and I was wearing large, or more commonly, an XL. When I went to try the jacket on, I couldn’t even fit my full arm through the arm holes😂

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I was still very thankful that Madewell gifted me such a sweet gift, but thought I should probably go ahead and gift the shirt and jacket to a friend since I couldn’t fit into either. I asked a few of my small sized pals if they wanted the goods and they all said the same thing, “save it and maybe you’ll fit back into them one day!” I listened, but wasn’t quite convinced I would ever really get to wear them.

My first pair of Madewell shoes and they do not disappoint ! These Frances Loafers are SO comfortable!!!

I was pregnant and breastfeeding without a break for the last 8 years! I have absolutely loved it! Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, growing, nourishing, teaching, and raising our daughters… This is my greatest joy!  However, I suffered a serious back injury that caused great pain and rendered me unable to be very active while I was pregnant. I picked up some poor habits and developed a bit of apathy in regards to myself over the past few years and I hadn’t even realized I had gained so much weight or become so out of shape. I didn’t have much energy. I didn’t like how I felt or how my clothing no longer fit. I decided I was ready to make some changes; not just for my benefit, but for the benefit of my daughters and husband. I wanted them to have a healthier version of me.

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I told my husband and a few friends that I was going to fit into that Madewell jacket and, although I really meant it, I eventually just put the box of goods up on my closet shelf and honestly forgot about it.  Fast forward to late June and something started stirring in my heart. Our babies were no longer babies. I was beginning to think about weaning Frankie, Chris and I had agreed that our family was most likely complete, and most of my wardrobe had become too tight to wear. I knew I needed to make some changes. So I did. 

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Wait, what is this? Is this Jurassic Park? Is that Laura Dern? What is happening?!

I’m going to tell you guys something only a few people know about…The year was 1997. My favorite movie Jurassic park. I was obsessed with this film and when I envisioned myself as a grown woman, wife, and mother, I envisioned myself as a bruenette Laura Dern in my high waisted denim!

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I mean… 1.) Jurassic Park is my all-time favorite movie! 2.) I just wanted to wear mom jeans and look for dinosaurs:D

When I entered adulthood, the high waisted jeans I had dreamed about wearing had gone out of style. When they finally came back I met them with a strong-willed mom pouch that had no time for pants with real pockets or buttons😂 I know this sounds so silly, but it was like a real thing to me. While I was loving growing and nourishing our babies, I had stopped nourishing myself along the way.  It occurred to me that only I could make the changes I wanted to make. And dangit! I wanted to feel comfortable in those mom jeans!

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I pulled out that Madewell denim jacket and decided that was my goal. I was going to wear that jacket and was going to Laura Dern the heck out of the highest waisted mom jeans Madewell had to offer (which are these 11” high waisteds if you’re curious😂🤘).

I started July 1st. I was around 190 lbs,  wearing a Madewell size 31 jean and they were TIGHT! I want to add here that there is nothing wrong with the size you are wearing if you are comfortable and healthy.  I just wasn’t happy or healthy where I was and I needed change. Some of my friends were also beginning some self-care journeys.  Seeing their results, along with their encouragement and motivation, helped me so much in getting started and sticking with the changes I have made. Community is so helpful!

When I got these pants, I couldn’t even button the bottom button! It felt amazing that I could button them to the top!!!

I decided to start with a low carb/clean eating diet, incorporating meals from whole 30, and cutting out processed foods, bad sugar, carbs that weren’t properly fueling my body, and the booze. I started drinking kombucha daily and adding more fermented foods to my diet. When I would crave sweets, I would eat a spoonful or two of RX vanilla almond butter and found that adding a little bit of heavy whipping cream to my afternoon collagen + bone broth protein filled coffee helped me from eating junk. I still do this and crave it and look forward to it! Also, I add citrus essential oils to water in the mornings and evenings and that really helps satisfy my cravings. There were very few days I would “cheat”,  but I allowed myself lots of treats that tasted good and wouldn’t hurt my progress. Honestly, I would google “whole 30 approved version of whatever I was craving” and learned how to make many of my favorite things in a way that benefited my family and I so much more!

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Norah always checking to assure my crinkles were still there.

Week 1: I lost 7 pounds and my clothing felt looser. I didn’t take before photos or measure any of my inches, but I could already feel a difference in how I felt and how my clothing fit. I ate a variation of eggs, veggies, and proteins for breakfast and lunch. I continued making most of our favorite meals, but substituted zucchini noodles and squash for regular noodles. I replaced breads I would normally eat with more veggies and lettuce wraps. It almost felt too easy. Giving up the foods I once ate daily didn’t feel like much of a sacrifice at all. I reduced my portion sizes but never counted calories, carbs, or macros because I’m too lazy for this stuff. I mostly just paid attention to what foods made me feel the best and added more of those. While I added these, I also removed the foods that made me feel not so good.

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The first person who said anything about me losing weight was our oldest daughter. She walked into the bathroom one morning and said, “You look smaller, Mom!” I explained that was something that sometimes happens when you give your body what it needs. Then my husband started commenting on the changes and my friends and acquaintances began motivating me more and more. Others were seeing the changes I was feeling and that was super encouraging!

Norah often comments about different ways my body is changing and asks regularly that I please don’t lose my crinkles. She has been one of my biggest supporters and reminds people when they comments about my weight loss, that I might be skinnier, but I’m also healthier. She maybe also said something along the lines of, “Wow! those used to be so round and big. Now they just kinda hang there, huh?”:D So… #balance #yep #thanksgirls #truth

At the end of month 1, I was down a surprising 28 pounds and my jeans were so loose I got to thrift some belts!!! 😳😳😳😳

I was in it! I felt energized and pumped up and ready to keep going!

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Matchy sets from our friends at Shop ARQ

I started working out almost daily in August and just felt SO good!!! My sister in law introduced me to the beach body workouts and I started doing the Real Time 21 Day Fix Lives and loved them! I’m doing the extreme version right now and look forward to them! I’ve tried lots of different workouts and have learned to do what I like and not try to do something that I hate because someone else is doing it. Actually, that’s one thing I have really learned in the last few months. You need to do what fuels YOUR body, what makes YOU feel well, and gives YOU positive results. Once September rolled around, I decided it was time to try on THE jacket. I honestly didn’t even think it would fit, I just wanted to see if I could tell a difference in the way it fit.

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GUYS!!!!!!

And with legit tears in my eyes right now, I am here to tell you, IT FIT LIKE A GEM! 😭 It was loose even! The jacket that I couldn’t fit more than a forearm into, FIT! AND the white tee that legit looked like a child’s small on me when I first tried it on, is now a loose  tee and it just feels so good!

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Thanks for capturing this hair flip, Morgo.

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I was feeing SO good but, October was a weird month. I passed out, my face caught my fall, and suffered a concussion so I couldn’t work out like I had been. I couldn’t look at screens or do much and felt pretty lethargic most of the month. I continued to eat clean and decided to have some blood work done, as I was concerned about what might have caused the passing out and wanted to make sure my lifestyle changes hadn’t caused it.  All my blood work came back as ideal as possible and I got the go ahead to get back to normal! Also, probably my favorite jeans ever!

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Every time I wear this jacket I feel like I have superpowers. That sounds dramatic, but it reminds me that I can do hard things! And also THESE JEANS!!!

Now, I want to emphasize again that I don’t think there is anything wrong with being in a size large or extra large or any size where you feel good and healthy… But I wasn’t healthy. I felt miserable, was growing more insecure, felt tired, and lacked the energy I wanted. Today, I look different, but I FEEL so different! I have energy, I feel strong, I can do legit push-ups, I feel healthy, have no back pain, and am officially down FIFTY POUNDS AND SIX JEAN SIZES!!!

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I thrifted this Madewell Cardigan but here is something similar!

Guys! LIKE, our 7 year old is 50 pounds just to put how much weight that really is into perspective!! 😳  While this journey isn’t as much about weight or sizes as it is about health, I went from a size 31 to a size 26 and a L/XL to a XS/S simply by making some healthy lifestyle changes. I feel so grateful! I can play with the girls so much more! I can jump on the trampoline more, wrestle around more, and run through the house more! And Bonus! I‘m even better at hide and seek as I can comfortably fit into smaller spaces now:D It’s really the little things that feel like huge victories to me! And also, maybe I can share a few tops with our 7 year old now. In all seriousness though, I get a little emotional thinking about all of the girls and I sharing our clothing with one another a few years down the road and want to remain in a state of health that allows me to do that… Some days I still can’t believe I get to mother these 4 beautiful daughters ❤️

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I  want to add that while I made some big changes, I’m not a crazy person. If we want pizza and beer, we have pizza and beer. But I still find ways to make it healthier and realized I don’t need 4 pieces of deep dish and 4 wings and four breadsticks and half a growler of IPA at one meal to feel satisfied. 😂. I’ve actually stopped drinking almost entirely, and for me, that’s another big success. Another story for another day, but a really cool thing.

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I truly feel capable and confident in ways I have not for years.

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I have more energy to do every day things and just that alone feels so incredible! Also, a thrifted bodysuit from Madewell that I could live in!

That was a really long way to say, THANK YOU MADEWELL for accidentally triggering something incredible for me. Thank you for new self control, new goals, new perspectives, the ability to wear more of what I enjoy, and the gift of feeling well (AND ALSO that high waisted denim)!!! It feels SO good! I am just so grateful to everyone who has helped me!

 

 

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Grainy photo but a funny story and the most artsy self portrait I have of myself. I’ve been laughing with friends, joking a lot about how I feel like you can see more of my French heritage now and then also I got a turtle neck after telling friends a week prior I would never wear a turtleneck… So one of my besties documented this moment for me… The moment I felt very fashion and turtlenecky. This friend also had her friend from France tell me I looked very French over FaceTime and it was so funny and I’m just really grateful for my friends who have laughed with me and helped take care of me and truly helped me reach my goals!

Thank you for real to Madewell for helping make my wardrobe dreams come true and to all of our friends and loved ones for all of your kind words and encouragement! I am grateful to be feeling so well!

Disclaimer: Many of the clothing pieces featured were gifted from our friends at Madewell or thrifted, and I have tried to link all of the pieces in the post for you! All of the opinions stated here are my honest opinions and I wrote this blog as a way to share some of the changes I have been making and to thank Madewell for partnering with me!

This is a first

DSC_7482We have found ourselves in a new place and I don’t really know how to feel about it. Chris and I found out we were expecting our first child in December of 2011. Norah was born and our lives were forever changed in the most wonderful ways! Six months after she was born we found out our sweet Charlie was on the way. Then fast forward to her being a bit older and we discovered Ada was on the way, and then since we had this system nailed down, we found out we were expecting while Ada was mastering walking. I think. Is it terrible to say I can’t actually remember if Ada was walking or not when we found out. I should know this:D #mombrain. Anyways, I have been pregnant and/or breastfeeding without a break for more than 7 years now!!! And I have LOVED it!!!  And I don’t know that I’m ready to be done. But there is a reality that we might be.

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My thoughts exactly, Frank:D

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I really wish I would have documented breastfeeding more, but just never really thought or remembered to do so as much as I wish I would have. I don’t have many photos nursing Norah or Charlie and I hate that! Breastfeeding, for me, has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I was so fortunate in that I got to exclusively breastfeed the girls for their first 6 months of life and then continued nursing until the next baby was due. I was extremely blessed in that I didn’t have the difficult time breastfeeding that many of my friends have had. It came to me like a second nature, I loved it from the very first time, and I never experienced any kind of clogged ducts or mastitis or really even sore nipples. They all basically self-weaned and was just awesome! Aside from Ada thinking a pierced nipple might be a cool idea while she was teething, it’s been a really enjoyable, more so magical, kind of thing for me.

DSC_7485I have actually mostly always looked forward to the girls waking up at night. Night time nursing was this quiet time where nothing else in the world seemed to matter. It was just me and our baby and I loved it so much. I have been able to nurse Frankie the longest, and while I have loved it, I know our time is coming to an end because no baby is due.. and she’s almost 2… Plus, maybe she’s been the most demanding and is still wanting to stay up all night partying and binge drinking…And momma is tired. And we miss our bed being our bed. So, send all the weaning tips my way!

DSC_7591This is the first time we’ve made it to the weaning stage not being due with our next or already nursing a newborn. The first time in almost 8 years where my body is about to be completely mine. And it kind of hurts way more than I thought it would. I’m not growing a baby and I’m not sustaining one’s life with my body and it’s seriously SO weird. I think I’ve kind of been thinking maybe we aren’t actually done having babies, but then maybe we really are…or maybe we aren’t… or maybe we are… or maybe we aren’t… This is kind of what I go back and forth thinking all the time now.  Either way,  there is a reality that I am almost done breastfeeding… for now… or maybe forever. Even if it doesn’t feel possible that we’re really at a place where we could be done, we might be.

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Anyway, knowing that this season is coming to an end, I needed to document a few things. One of my all-time favorite photographers, Bethany Meysenburg, came and spent some time with us and documented me in my favorite element. At home, with our family, nursing from room to room, hanging out with the little ladies, just my absolute favorite! The girls are more so little ladies than the little girls it feels like they were yesterday. They are growing and changing so fast. It’s amazing watching their personalities develop, but I would be lying if I said I’m not emotional about how fast it seems to have all happened and is happening.

DSC_7596I don’t really know what else to say except, thank you so much Chris for choosing me and giving me the most incredible gifts I have ever known. Thank you to our midwife who became family to us and gave us some of the most incredible experiences of our lives.  Thank you to our friends who joined our family, and thank you for sharing your gifts with us, Bethany… Also a quick shout out to stretchy pants and push up bras:D

(Warning: These are breastfeeding photos so some of these photos contain slight nudity. I tried to make sure I didn’t post any that would make anyone too uncomfortable, but I also wanted to share the special bond that I don’t want to censor.)

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Thank you so much for capturing these very precious moments for us, Bethany!

A few shops we love that are featured in these photos.

Frankies tunic & bloomers- BloomHandmadeCo

Frankie’s Button Up Vest- LittleCottonWood

Norah’s Dress- Fin & Vince from BarbaAndRoo

Charlie’s Dress- JuneIsleClothier

Ada’s dress- Roaming Threads

Frankie’s & Charlie’s Bows: KDBird

Ada’s Bows: CraftedAndCo

Momma’s Clogs- LottaFromStockholm 

Black & White Striped Pillows: ChapelAndCo

Table Runner- NotPerfectLinen

Momma’s Bedding- Parachute, MaeWoven, TheCompany Store

Diaper Bag- Josefina bags

Linen Nursing Cover- VeniceAndJune

Norah and Charlie’s Bedding- SchoolHouse

 

Getting Cozy with Garnet Hill

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If someone told me I had to pick out one outfit to live in and then also told me to fill a basket with a few necessities, I can tell you right away what both would be!  I would pick leggings, a pretty sweater, house slippers, blankets, pillows, coffee, and more baskets😂🤘 Basically, my mom uniform is a real thing and it consists of leggings, slippers & a pretty sweater.

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Being home the majority of my time the last few years, I have really started understanding what makes me feel cozy and at home… And I have no shame about it! Homeschooling the girls has been one of the greatest things I have ever known! Being home so much has made me take notice to how my environment affects Chris, the girls, and I and our days and has kind of forced me into new habits, new routines and even a bit of a new aesthetic. 

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When I feel cozy and comfortable, but also put together, I truly function better. I feel more relaxed, our days are smoother and it’s just so nice!

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So, with that being said, we have partnered with our friends over at GarnetHill to share with you a few of our favorite things that have helped us stay cozy at home!

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1.)  Them leggings though! I never knew how much a person could stretchy pants… Until I was pregnant for 6 years😂🤘  but for real, a nice pair of leggings are a staple for me and these are perfect! 

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2.) A pretty sweater to make me feel more fancy when living in the stretchy pants. Do you guys know about cashmere?! I didn’t, and now that I do, I’m obsessed! SO soft and cozy! But like, it’s even softer than you’re thinking. It’s like wearing a baby sheep… but without all of the judgement and inconvenience that would probably come from wearing a baby sheep😂 I have a few cashmere pieces from Garnet Hill and I bet I will have more one day☺️ I also like the fit of this sweater. It’s a bit oversized so it helps hide the last bit of my mom pouch that doesn’t seem to want to leave, plus, I’m still breastfeeding and this one is super easy to get access to them goods☺️🤘 I’ll link the products featured here at the end of the post🙌

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3.) House slippers. I never knew the goodness of slippers before this stay at home business… Now I have a couple pairs and they’re basically the equivalent to business socks for me. You know if my slippers are on, I’m reporting for duty, or most often literal doody😂 Remember how I don’t get out much…☺️  Just let me have these mom jokes☺️😘 But for real, I feel so cozy and ready for the day in my slippers! 

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4.) Did someone say waffle weave? 😂 Can you even have an Instagram account without some pretty white waffle weave something? 🙈 This merino wool blanket is my new favorite! When we go to watch a movie or cuddle up with a book, it’s the first blanket the girls grab! So, so, so soft… We’re talking that baby sheep softness over here again! 

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5.) Pillows! If you know my husband, you will know we disagree on very few things. But pillows are one of them. He thinks less is more, and I think fit as many pillows into each living space as we possibly can and then add a few more😂. It’s a problem, but he still loves me ☺️ We, and by we I mean the girls and I, and not Chris, 😂 are loving these gorgeous 26×26 big ol’ down pillows!!! I have them on our couch and chairs and bed and enjoy them so much! Chris will learn to love them too, I’m just sure of it.☺️

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Anyways, what is your mom uniform? What things make you feel cozy at home? Should we start a recovery group for pillow and blanket addicts? Thanks for reading friends!A864FF3D-86DC-4D19-89F0-51D0EE2E24A4

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📷 MegganHarrisonPhotography

Garnet Hill products featured:

CashmereCroppedSweater

GreenCottonKnitLeggings

Slippers

WaffleWeaveMerinoBlanket

EuroPillowInserts

(Disclosure: this post was made possible by Garnet Hill, but all opinions expressed are my honest opinions)

Straighten Up: A Smile Update

It’s been about 6 months since I began my smile transformation journey with a local dental practice, New Horizons Dental Care with Dr’s Kate and Guy Gross. The first part of this process involved doing a Virtual Smile Consult so we could create a game plan, getti,, ng an implant where I had a tooth pulled and starting Invisalign.  I have been asked several questions about Invisalign, so I thought it would be a good time to write a little update and share my experience thus far for my friends who might be considering trying these bad boys out!

I understand that everyone’s smile and situation is different, so I am simply sharing what my personal experience has been like. So, if you want to sit down and dig your teeth (pun intended) into a story all about my mouth, you are in for quite a treat:D

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First, let’s talk the good stuff! I am super impressed with how fast my teeth have moved and how convenient the Invisalign trays have been for me. I’ll explain more about what I mean by convenient in a moment. I have trays on both the top and bottom and only needed 13 trays up to this point and I only wore each tray for about a week.  I am in my final tray and we’re leaving this tray on for awhile to assure that my stubborn snaggle tooth, whom I introduced you guys to in my first blog post about this little journey, stays safe and snug in her new place in line. Sometimes with

While Invisalign trays aren’t completely invisible, they’re not big and in your face like traditional braces and I like that. They didn’t feel weird or embarrassing to me except for a few times which I’ll touch base on in the cons section. When I say they are convenient, I mean that I really enjoy that I have been able to take them out when I eat, drink something fancy nice, enjoy a meal and conversation with friends, and most importantly, when I make out with my boyfriend, aka, my husband. We’re married, get over it:D When I talked about getting braces he maybe, for a lack of better words, begged me not to get metal braces…So, I guess in a weird way, I can thank him for this experience too.

Also, when I had traditional braces about 10 years ago, I was often in a lot of pain. Whenever they got tightened, my whole face seemed to hurt for days. I haven’t experienced discomfort with my trays like that at all!  The trays feel a bit snug when I put in the new one each week, but never hurt like traditional braces did for me. The first week I had my trays in,  my gums and lips felt a little sore getting used to their new roommates , but after that first week, everything felt fine. Virtually no pain is a huge pro to me!

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I’m wearing my trays in all of these photos, and you can hardly see them! Also, rockin’ them mom nails:D

Without a doubt, the greatest benefit I have experienced up to this point, is a boost in confidence about my smile. When I started looking through photos to share with the dental team at New Horizons in the beginning stages of this process, I realized I never looked at the camera when I smiled and most of my smiles were with my mouth closed or looking away from the camera. I don’t even think I realized just how self conscience I had become about my smile and lil ol’ snaggle tooth until I realized I was always hiding it.  While my smile journey with New Horizons isn’t completely finished, (you can read more about what we’re doing here) I feel significantly more confident than I did 4 months ago.

Also, there have been a few unexpected new habits that I have formed because of Invisalign which I’m finding to be very beneficial.

1. A dramatic decrease in my daily coffee coffee and snack intake.  I personally don’t like taking the trays out often during the day and you should take them out when you eat you drink anything besides water so they don’t stain.  So, I have my coffee in the morning while I allow my trays to bathe in a warm, effervescent bath of denture cleaner and, most days, that’s it.:D  I home educate 4 daughters under age 6, so obviously there are days where the trays come out more for me to down an extra cup or four of the life-giving nectar that is caffeine, but for the most part I’m grateful for this unexpected little change. I started working out again, and that paired with less snackage during the day has me back in my pre-pregnancy pants!!

2. Better oral hygiene. I can’t stand the trays or my teeth feeling dirty, so I’m brushing and flossing much more regularly than I was before I got my trays, so double success!

3. Another thing I have enjoyed is having my teeth protected at night. The last few years I began grinding my teeth while sleeping, and I feel like the trays have been protecting my teeth and preventing me from damaging them anymore through tooth grinding. So, another unexpected benefit from Invisalign trays.Attachment-1 (3)

Ok, cons. While the cons list is short, I’ll share a few things you might want to consider when deciding between traditional braces and Invisalign.  With Invisalign, you are kind of your own boss. You have to wear your trays for the recommended amount of time every day, keep your trays clean, and take care of them if you want them to do what they’re made to do. I’ve read about many people not wearing their trays like they’re supposed to and then not having the outcomes they wanted. So, as long as you are prepared to take care of your trays and wear them as you’re supposed to, they work great!

Another thing I have experienced is a cute little lisp when I have my trays in:D Although, in some cultures, lisps are considered very endearing, so maybe not a con at all:D… Also, if you know of any cultures where lisps are considered endearing, would you let me know? I’m asking for a friend:D

nh8So, while there are still some changes we will be doing to enhance my smile, I feel like I have benefited tremendously from Invisalign and that I could happily recommend them to those who are wanting to straighten their teeth and avoid traditional metal braces.  I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to work with Dr. Kate, Dr. Guy and New Horizons and look forward to sharing all of my before and after treatment photos on the next blog I share with you guys! I am looking forward to feeling even more confident about getting in front of the camera more! Thank you guys for reading along and I look forward to answering any questions you might have that wasn’t covered here.

To read more about Kate Gross, DDS visit her blog here: www.drkatetalks.com . To see what and Guy Gross, DDS can do for your smile, check out the Smile Virtual Consult here:  https://www.smilevirtualconsult.com/dr-guy-gross/

(Disclaimer: This post was made possible by Dr. Kate, Dr. Guy and New Horizons Dental Care, but all opinions expressed are my own honest opinions.)

Sunday Suppers: Truly a night to remember

Sobremesa | the time after a meal when food is gone, but the conversation around the table continues. 228101AA-EB7A-421C-81AF-997E43338BB6

A few weeks ago, Chris and I got to attend a Sombremesa Sunday Suppers event hotsted by our dear friend Amanda Watters, and for lack of better words, it was truly magical. A few months ago I was on the gram and saw a post from my sweet friend Amanda (mamawatters) sharing about the event she would   hosting.  I had been meaning to get to Kansas city to visit with her since it had been some time since we hung out, Chris and I hadn’t been on a date without a baby in literal years, and after months of binge watching Top Chef as a family, this event seemed like the perfect night to enjoy with one another. Perfect almost feels like an understatement now.B0C33603-958A-4839-AED4-8ADE76B686BD

I immediately texted Chris a screen shot about the event and he was like, Yes!!!! So, I knew we had to get tickets… But then I got to thinking… Who would watch all FOUR girls for several hours and into the night? I thought of a few people who might be interested and whom I knew Frankie and the girls would feel comfortable with and I felt like I knew the perfect people. We were actually hanging out with them that evening, so I knew I had to ask, knowing that this would probably make or break our ability to attend the Sunday Supper’s event.

I asked our dear friends who I might add have 4 of their own, including twins, and without any hesitation, my friend said yes! And an excited yes! She actually told me she felt honored that I asked them and, insert Chris and I both crying literal tears of joy, we just felt so incredibly loved and blessed to have friends who would take in our children and with joyful hearts.  I have a really difficult time leaving the girls, especially Frankie, but I had such a peace about letting them go with these friends and knew they would have the best time! So…we got tickets and were so excited for November 3rd to roll around! Fast forward, the girls had THE BEST time and we are so excited to hopefully get the chance to pay them back by watching their babes!

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There were so many reasons I was so excited about this event.. I was excited for the time with Chris, to see my friends, to maybe make new friends, to enjoy good food, and just excited about being excited:D One of the highlights was meeting my friend Caley!!! We met on the gram, I think our first conversation was about paint trim colors, and then we discovered we had lots in common, including home birth and so many things motherhood related, and our friend Amanda. I’m trying to find the words to describe just how life giving and refreshing this night was for Chris and I. First, the little road trip to Kansas City itself. I love road trips and some of the very best conversations Chris and I have happen on these little trips and having that time alone together was just awesome. Now I’ll skip to our arrival.

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We pulled up to the house and I was like Christmas morning excited to see Amanda and see the love I knew she was pouring into the event. Amanda and I met on Instagram as well and after small talk here and there, developed a friendship which has been so special to me. We laughed about how the last time we came to visit I was SO pregnant with Frankie and was actually dilated to an 8 and had to go on bed rest like the day after we hung out. 😀 #worthit. Anyway, we walked in and were met with the warmest welcome and if you’ve been to Amanda’s house, you walk in and just feel home. I have gleaned so much inspiration from her as a mother and from the care she pours into everything she does.

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I started to recognize people from Instagram and it was so fun getting to visit in real life! I recognized this gem, Whitney, but had no idea that within minutes she would become one of my new favorite people on this planet! Then another person, Karen, whom we literally met just a few weeks prior while we were visiting our sweet friend Stephanie in Colorado Springs.

15C9FE81-8730-4A6A-B010-661A1D86252ELife is so strange sometimes and it was so cool how so many of us shared connections we didn’t know we had. I got to meet friends I have followed on Instagram for years, meet shop owners whom we’ve collaborated with, meet incredible artists and mothers and shop owners and just truly beautiful, beautiful people! I felt like I walked away with new friendships to cherish and such precious memories!

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We ate fancy cheeses and exotic grapes and felt pretty cool:D

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Then we ate fancy bread, exotic butters and felt even more cool:D

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There wasn’t a moment that felt awkward or uncomfortable, it was just so fun! I will share Amanda’s blog on this evening at the end of this, so you can read about more details of the night!   The food was incredible! Amanda worked so hard and it was transparent in every bite! She taught us how to make delicious ricotta, introduced us to foods we had never experienced, and gave us a very fun culinary experience. But what made the evening really magical was the booze:D Totally joking!

E28B1FC8-F906-456E-9724-3F6113EB7628 It was the awesome fellowship and connection we shared with each other around the table.16F15AF4-79C0-4746-82FB-85BFE0A3047B

Sunday Suppers is intended to be a celebration of good food and great community and it was that and so much more! Amanda and Andrew worked so hard and poured themselves into each nook and cranny of the evening, and it was just so special! Have I said special and magical enough.

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Chris and I work in ministry and it is very rare for us to attend anything where we are not in charge or serving in some role of leadership and even more rare to do anything without our children. While we love our children and serving others very much, this evening felt so freeing! We got to go and just be Chris and Amanda. We had no agenda, no obligations, no responsibilities or expectations to fulfill. We held hands, laughed, told stories, heard amazing stories,  had teary moments and left feeling beyond refreshed. We couldn’t stop talking about it the whole way home. I know Amanda had intentions to make this a special night, but I don’t think she knew how truly life giving it would be for some of us. I walked away feeling so renewed!

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It’s honestly hard to find the right words to describe how wonderful the evening was. Amanda writes this, “The smiles and warmth in these photos say it all. Making food for others is one of the ways I show love to those I care about, and when done where we live, it’s even more meaningful for me. It’s home. Andrew and I did our best to make our guests feel at home, and in return, they gave us meaningful conversation, memories, and laugher, along with a newfound perspective of what gathering and sharing a meal can truly do for our souls. Like a steadfast buoy in a turbulent sea, this evening lifted the spirits of all who came and gathered and shared. The vulnerability in not knowing who would show up, both for us hosting and the guests, made for a delicate experience that blanketed our home in grace. The world needs more of this. Our supper was one I know we will talk about for the rest of our lives, and one that will live on in the new friendships we made around the table breaking bread.”

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The world needs more of this indeed! We will cherish this evening for as long as we can remember it! If you get the opportunity to attend a Sunday Suppers event, we highly recommend it! I feel like I’m leaving out a million things, but basically we walked away with the reminder that we were made for community. We were made to enjoy the good things our Creator created and with one another! Eat Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

(The photos shared here are a collection of photos taken personally, some from Amanda herself, some taken by people whom attended and from MacyAnn, who took photos of the evening.)

You can read about this evening from Amanda’s perspective here. http://www.homesongblog.com/autumn/sunday-suppers-autumn-sobremesa-tips-for-hosting-large-gatherings/

Cozying up with Burrow

Chris and I have been super fortunate and have been given almost every single piece of furniture that we own as a hand-me-down. While this is so awesome, we have also recently learned that well worn in furniture sometimes doesn’t last so long and we also learned that the couch that once comfortably sat the two of us, could no longer sit all SIX of us. So, our hunt for the perfect sofa began.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI wanted a couch that could comfortably fit all six of us. I wanted something grey or beige because you know how I do.  I wanted something that was easy to keep clean, could handle 4 little monkeys and all their jumping and wrestling, something that would fit our space, and let’s be real… One that would hold up to all of the netflix and chilling that goes on☺️☺️ Chris’ only requests were that the couch be midcentury, grey, tufted, that it could handle getting a little burrito or coffee on it, and he seconded the netflix and chill criteria.

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I remember scrolling through instagram and seeing someone with the beige sofa from Burrow and loving it! I checked out their website and as soon as I saw this sofa, I knew she was the one. It met all of our criteria, shipped in super-easy-to-assemble pieces, and I’m really happy we went with this one. We chose the King Sofa in Crushed Gravel with High Arm, Dark Wood Legs and paired it with a matching Ottoman. 74B49745-FAA0-4028-AA42-5F00DC266789Chris says this is the first couch that he’s been able to lay all the way down on, he’s 6’4 and has plenty of space!!🙌🙌We are so grateful that we can all cuddle up together! Oh! And it has a phone charger!! So you can do adult things like charge your phone while you veg out and neglect your other adulting responsibilities.

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As I type this, Norah, our 6 year old, is laying with me and I asked her what her thoughts on the couch were and quote her exact words. “The couch? It’s good. It’s beautiful. It’s comfy. It’s really good for pictures. It fitteds all of us. We can sit down on it. We can watch tv as a family…and do i pee on it? Yes.” Her words, friends:D And she ain’t lying:D. We pretty much can’t stop laughing now.

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Actually, the only thing that I might change about the sofa, as a mother of peeing babes is to have removable covers on the seat cushions. But, the covers are really easy to clean! I just spray the sofa with my homemade pee remover, sprinkle with baking soda, and she’s as good as new. Mostly, I’m just in the stage of life where I prefer anything that can be  peed on to be removable😂 Oh, and that reminds me. The top and bottom cushions are reversible so you can have the tufted look, a super clean, minimal look, or that let’s-just-flip-the-cushions-over-until-we-clean-that-coffee-stain-off look:D

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Anyway, if you’re on the hunt for a lovely sofa and your criteria is similar to ours,  please pay Burrow a little visit! We are enjoying this sofa so much!!

pillows || @maewoven & @theivorygull

photog || @megganharrisonphotography

(Disclosure: This post was made possible by Burrow, but all opinions expressed are my own honest opinions.)



 

A Barn Full of Memories: An Interview with Framebridge

A corner shot of a room with a wicker chair and flowers on the windowsill. A framed drawing of a red barn hangs on the wall in a gold frame.

Years ago, Amanda Pahls and her husband Chris were married in a big red barn. When Amanda rediscovered an art print of the barn that was given to the couple on their wedding day, she had to get it up right away. Here’s the story of the day the Pahls began their life together.

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Why did you decide to get married in this barn? 

Chris and I knew we wanted an outdoor wedding, but the barn just kind of happened. We wanted a large venue and we were fresh out of college with a very tight budget and the barn just kind of fell into place! We drove out to look at the barn together and it was just gorgeous!

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There were chickens running around, beautiful fields of wild flowers, lush greenery, a gorgeous homemade wooden swing hanging from one of the large trees, the most beautiful sky, and it just felt so right. 

 

How did you come by this art piece of the barn?

The owners of the barn were so kind to us for our wedding. It was so special. When we arrived for the ceremony, the owner Gloria gave us this lovely print of the barn as a wedding gift. We saved it but never framed it. On the back of the print was a card that gave us the history of the barn and print! The print is titled “Fall Harvest” and is a Prismacolor pencil drawing done by Cherylene Caver.

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The site was homesteaded by Karl W. and Augusta Martin in 1893 and the spacious barn constructed in 1916. The barn served as a safe haven for livestock during winter storms and has now been renovated to be able to host special events like our wedding. The print captures a moment that was photographed in the Fall of 1921 and depicts Karl and Augusta’s son, Carl, putting the fall hay crop up into the barn. It’s so cool having this special piece of history to warm up our home and to remind us of our wedding day!

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To be honest, I kind of forgot about it until I was moving some things around in our new home and found it! I knew I wanted Framebridge to frame this piece as soon as I found it, as we have a few other special pieces framed by them that we really enjoy.

A poster my husband designed for our family. My hand in his with the lyrics, “we are family, I got all sisters with me”, a song Chris sings to our daughters often.  

 

A family portrait painting from @lachlanandlenny and one of my favorite family photos taken by my friend @bethanymeysenburg framed in some of our favorite Framebridge frames.

 

What does having the framed piece in your home mean to you?

I look at this print and I remember the way everything felt on our wedding day. I remember the big ol’ white fluffy clouds that look like they were straight out of the Toy Story movie. I think about all of our friends and family from around the globe who joined us and made the day so special for us.

I remember my little brother walking me down the aisle and how strange this was. I had always imagined my father doing this, but our father and sister were killed in a tragic car accident a year before this special day. I remember my brother telling jokes as he walked me towards my almost husband and the incredible mix of emotions I was feeling, but how the joy of marrying my best friend was stronger than all the other emotions.

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To most people, this will just look like a photo of a barn, but when I look at it, I feel so much peace, love, and joy.

I look at this print and remember the life that led up to the day that we said “I do” and all of the life that we have shared together since and grateful is not nearly a strong enough word.

 

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(Disclosure: This post was made possible by Framebridge but all opinions expressed are my own.)

Operation Purty Mouth

3E3C464E-740E-48FD-9AE1-693F9CC93938.jpegOk, so recently I have felt this big urge to take better care of myself. I wouldn’t say that I have completely let myself go, but I have definitely neglected a few things that I don’t want to neglect any longer. I gained many a pound with Norah and right about the time I would get back into my pre-pregnancy pants, was right about the time that I found out I was pregnant, again and again and again:D But for real! I have said it several times, but I have been pregnant and breastfeeding without a break since late 2011. While I love this with every ounce of my being, those ounces, along with some other poor habits, have really added up, and I am ready to nourish my body in ways I just haven’t been doing well.

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I’ve started eating better, juicing again, working out a bit, celebrating the Sabbath with our family, am trying to incorporate several new habits and routines into our days at home and have even committed to taking better care of my teeth! Teeth you say?! Yep! Guys, my teeths be jacked up! A lot of it is due to poor habits, years of not taking better care of them, several weird teeth injuries and then they seemed to have actually gotten worse while pregnant and breastfeeding? Maybe that’s because I have chosen extra sleep over flossing too many times, but anyway, I’m ready to take much better care of and fix my mouth!

IMG_6476I don’t consider myself an insecure person, but as my teeth have continued to shift and their condition has deteriorated, I have found myself becoming insecure about my smile.  I tried finding recent photos of myself smiling confidently in the direction of the camera, and I couldn’t really find any. My go to poses are kiss a baby, look at a baby, laugh at a baby, and have a baby 🙂 I do genuinely enjoy candid photos more than posed ones, but I have definitely noticed that my being insecure about my smile has affected the way I interact with cameras.

With all of that being said, I am so excited to share that I have teamed up with a local dentist to commence ‘Operation Purty Mouth!” I’m not saying I don’t feel pretty or don’t like my mouth, I just think I will like it more with a full set of teeth that line up in a fancier fashion and match one another:D So, over the next few months, I will be sharing this super fun collaboration with you guys!

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Meet Dr. Guy Gross.  He’s the man behind ‘Operation Purty Mouth’. Dr. Guy  has been working on some really cool stuff that I had no idea even existed before visiting with him. He and his wife, Dr. Kate, started their family friendly practice, New Horizons together and they’re working really hard to take care of people and boost their confidence with a healthy smile.  Dr. Guy focuses almost exclusively on dental implants, restorative, cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry, along with educating other dentists so they can use these awesome new techniques and technologies to fix up them pearly whites! I’ve been to many dental practices and this was honestly one of the nicest I have ever been to! I was greeted by the friendliest ladies at the desk and one of the first things I saw when I walked in was the little coffee bar! Blessed be! There was plenty of stuff to keep the little ladies entertained and did I mention the coffee? Ok, before I talk any more dental jargon or share with you the details of my experience so far, let me introduce you to my mouth.

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To begin, I am missing a tooth that I had to get pulled recently because I most likely cracked it while wrestling Chris in college:D No, I’m not using an innuendo, I have legit broken my tailbone, had double whiplash, had both feet sprained and a had a tooth or several cracked and chipped while wrestling around with friends. So fun, but also maybe a bit costly. I should note, I’ve retired my wrestling career to ensure the safety of all my new teeth and the rest of my body parts. While I am sure that some people are super into missing teeth, I really miss her and am excited to have a new tooth moving in!

Second, I have a tooth we will call snaggletooth whom loves a fresh breeze and is slowly working her way out so she can better feel the full effects of the wind against her sideways self. Dr. Guy gave me several options to correct this tooth and after weighing some options, we decided caging her up with some discrete, comfortable and convenient Invisalign trays would be best to tame her curious and outgoing ways. She’s been a stubborn gal for a long time! You can see me back in my prime when we tried to tame snaggletooth’s wild ways a few years back:D So thankful for the technological advances in dentistry!

 

Last but not least, I’m getting a blue tooth upgrade! When I was a teenager I was being super cool and jumping on the trampoline with a hose. Smart! I was feeling so cool splashing around under the hot summer sun… That is until the metal end of the hose whipped up and broke one of my teeth in half. So lame, but made for a good laugh and a great tan! I had a root canal and a crown put on the broken tooth but over the years she has changed colors, been replaced and popped off many a time. Blue tooth has gone adventuring on her own while white water rafting, hiking, boogie boarding, simply biting into a delicious baked good and one of my all-time favorites, the time she jumped out of my mouth while I was just checking out at the grocery store:D Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds and you have to ask your cashier if they could kindly hand you your tooth:D Blue tooth and I know how to persevere!

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signature look at a baby pose:D

I tell you all of this fun history so you can understand how truly grateful I am for this partnership! Let’s go back to where this partnership began. Have you guys ever done a smile virtual consult before? I hadn’t either but am glad I did. Dr. Guy had me submit a couple photos of my teeth to their website and share what I was hopeful to correct about my smile. He then got back to me a few days later with a video highlighting all of the options there were to fix these things; Different procedures, different timelines, different prices and shared some pros and cons of all of them. It was so nice to learn the specific options for my case from the comfort of my couch. Did I mention this was all free?! So cool! . If you’re needing some work done and are wanting to know your options, you have got to check this smile virtual consult out. From there, I made an appointment and went in to meet Dr. Guy. I was super impressed with their staff and facility! This place be fancy! Two words, massage chairs! We then decided what we would do to my mouth and that’s where the fun begins.

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A few weeks later, I came back in to begin the implant process. I got nestled into my massage chair, was given a cozy blanket and was just treated so well. Dr. Guy uses a pretty incredible technique that he has been fine crafting and I am super impressed! It’s a minimally invasive, super fast technique that makes for an almost instant recovery, very little pain, no bleeding, no stitches and overall a pretty pleasant experience. I maybe sort of watched him do my procedure via the reflection of an iPhone, and it was seriously so cool. The whole thing from start to finish lasted 6 minutes! And, I was barely sore afterwards. I’ve left wrestling matches feeling much worse. In all seriousness though, I was incredibly impressed with how easy and convenient this procedure was and with, Dr. Guy’s skills and with New Horizons as a whole.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetFor those of you who might be wondering what exactly an implant is, let me enlighten you. It’s a big ol’ metal post, titanium to be exact, which is what Captain America’s shield was made from. Don’t be silly, that was vibranium, and yes I totally just goggled that. Anyway, that post was literally implanted into my jaw bone where my former tooth used to be using some kind of magic because I saw no blood and felt no pain. Let me repeat, a big ol’ metal rod was implanted into my bones and it didn’t bleed or leave me feeling like I just had a metal rod inserted into my face! The bone will now grow around my new metal buddy and create a replacement “root”, providing a cozy new home for new tooth to go! Welcome home new tooth! This badboy should last a lifetime, and can help prevent further damage to the bone, tissue and other teeth surrounding the implantation site. Plus, ain’t nobody gonna know its fake… except for all of you:D I have been amazed at how many people have shared with me they need an implant since staring this process, so if you’re in need of an implant and have been hesitant because of fearing the process, you need to look into this. You can read more here.

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Now let’s move on to Invisalign ! I later met with Chelsea and Dr. Kate to discuss taming ol’ snaggletooth.

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I decided on Invisalign because there are two things my husband has asked me not to do since we got married; get bangs or metal braces. So, you’re welcome husband. These trays are for you and sweet snaggletooth. There were no weird gels or molds or alginate that I had to cram in my mouth, just a scan that makes a digital mold of my teeth. Technology is seriously so cool! Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

After getting scanned, Dr. Kate walked me through what the next few steps would look like. In my specific case, I need 13 trays to get my teeth where we want them. I’m almost 2 weeks in and very impressed to see that my teeth have already shifted! If you’re not very familiar with Invisalign, they’re pretty convenient. You wear each set of trays for about a week, take them out to eat and brush and leave them in the rest of the time. Ideally, the trays should be worn 22 hours a day and, I’ve found that’s pretty easy to manage. Today I’ll start my second round of trays and I kind of can’t belive that this process is so fast! Each case varies, but I’m just so impressed with this technology!

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If you are currently looking for a new dentists or are curious about your options, New Horizons has several practices you can choose from! New Horizons Dental Care belongs to New Horizons Dental Practice Management, with 6 other practices in Salina, Wichita, Tulsa, Rossville, Lenexa, Shawnee, Olathe and are continuing to grow.

Thank you so much Dr. Guy and the New Horizons team! We are so thankful to get to partner with you!

(Disclosure: This post was made possible thanks to Dr. Guy Gross and New Horizons Dental team, but all opinions expressed here are my honest opinions.)