A family that chucks together, stays together:D Step Forward with FamousFootwear

We are happy to have teamed up with FamousFootwear and their #stepforward campaign! As a mother of 3, soon to be, 4 daughters, we want to raise our girls to be kind, strong, loving, courageous, and to be ladies who feel empowered to make positive choices and make a positive impact on the world around them!  This campaign is designed to inspire and remind us and that every journey begins with taking a step forward. Every day is a new chance to take a step forward closer to your goals, towards living the life you were called to live and a step forward towards helping those around you!

Chris and I have seen the power that lies in fresh starts and second chances first hand and that makes me so excited for campaigns like #stepforward!  When I look 10 years behind me, I couldn’t have imagined then having the life I do now.  I spent many years feeling lost and broken and so stuck.  I can clearly remember those “step forward” moments I had to take that led to the life we are living now. These moments look differently to all of us, but if you feel lost or stuck or hopeless, have hope!

Those moments that challenge us to step forward to change, to step forward and trust, to step forward and start can be frightening, but oh-so-good!  So, if there is something in your life that you are struggling to step forward in, I challenge you to take a breath and step!  I know my life wouldn’t look it does now had I not stepped forward in faith and let go of the things in my life that were holding me back from experiencing the life I was created to live.  But it all started with a decision to step forward in the direction I knew I was being called in!

We let the girls look around online to see which ones they wanted and it did not take long!  Charlie is obsessed with Moana, more so Tomatoa! Gold is now her favorite color and she is now super drawn to anything bright and shiny! When she saw these gold high tops she was like, “Ah! Tomotoa shoes!” And that was the end of that discussion:D

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It is so fun watching their styles and personalities develop more!  I can’t help but imagine what they will be like when they are older.  I hope that more than anything they are kind and loving and live with selfless intentions.

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I tried so hard to convince the girls to get all white matchy matchy Converse All Stars… But, thats didn’t happen:D B

Definitely a little Daddy’s Girl!

At least I can still pick out her shoes for a little longer:D

We even got the teeniest little pair for Frankie! I can’t wait to meet this little girl and welcome her into our family!

 

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Thank you so much FamousFootwear for including us in your #stepforward campaign! And if there is something you’re ready to step forward in, step! You can be check out some awesome and inspiring step forward real stories from real women at FamousFootwear!

(Disclaimer: We received FamouFootwear Converse product for means of review, but all opinions disclosed are my own honest opinions.)

3 little monkeys jumping on the bed

You know how sometimes you just have those days where you’re emotional and grateful and looking at your family and wondering how you got to where you are in life?  My Grammy texted me this morning just to share that she was proud of Chris and I and I just wanted to cry because this is the life that I prayed I could have one day but genuinely didn’t think I could have… I don’t deserve it, but I grow more and more thankful for it. Even when I’m tired or stressed or as I listen to our 3 & 4 year arguing over the ideal spot to have their picnic right now… I am just so grateful. The word Redeemed rings in my ears often and when I look at Chris and our daughters, the ring feels more like a shout!

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I’m just feeling extra grateful for that shout today…

My friend Robyn was so kind to do a little extra shoot and capture something we love just as much as baking around this house! Bed Jumping!!! I just had to share these sweet images! Thank you so much Robyn! These are truly the moments I know I will think back on, smile and cry about when they are grown. I hope they will be mothers who will love their children fiercely, that kindness will flow from their hearts and homes and that they will be filled with the joy that comes from watching their babes jump on the bed…and maybe jumping with them when they’re a little less pregnant:D

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Products Featured:

Pajamas: G. Nancy from Baby Donkie 

Momma’s Top: LoveWinnieJames

Photography by RobynBunch

Pregnancy & Forte

I can hardly believe that we are already in our 3rd trimester with our 4th little lady! This pregnancy has definitely flown by, but I am loving it!  We are planning our third home birth and are so excited! I might be a weirdo, but I truly love pregnancy and labor!!! Like, a lot!  I joke that I would have a baby every year, but seriously… Someone convince my husband that this is a good idea:D I don’t know what it is but I almost feel more confident and comfortable being pregnant now that this has been my norm for so long:D

One thing that really surprised us with our first pregnancy and birth, was the lack of overall education we received or didn’t receive.  We didn’t’ learn about how I should change my diet and overall health and nutrition were not emphasized by any means.  I remember asking if there were certain foods I should include more of to reduce things like high blood pressure of other delivery risks, and I was told no.  I didn’t necessarily feel like I was lied to, but I knew this couldn’t be completely true. We weren’t aware of just how much education we were lacking until we decided to go a more holistic route with Christian Midwives and home birth with our second pregnancy and man, did we learn a lot!

We learned so much about food, the way our bodies process food and supplements, exercise and even how to apply biblical principles more into our daily lives, pregnancy, labor and post-partum expereince.  We felt so empowered and excited about everything we were learning.

My pregnancy with Charlie was awesome but our labor was amazing!  We delivered her with virtually 0 pain, 2 easy pushes and a perfectly healthy baby!  My recovery time was like 10 minutes before I felt completely back to normal, physically!  No after birth pain or anything! We were both amazed and beyond grateful and knew so much of this had to do with our choices to apply the education we gained to our pregnancy and delivery.

Since that experience, we have gained a lot more knowledge, have some new passions we advocate for and our eyes were opened to many things we are truly grateful for.  We understand that our birth experiences might not be the experiences everyone desires, or that everyone gets to have, but we only grow more and more thankful for these opportunities and for the incredible experiences and relationships we get to share with our midwife and her family!

When Forte asked me to try out their prenatal and post natal supplements, I was excited, but grew more excited when I received their package!

While they make several supplements shown to support nutrition throughout your pregnancy and after birth, I was more impressed with the total emphasis on education and promoting a healthy lifestyle that came along with these supplements.

The overall emphasis is placed on eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy exercise routine, simply taking care of yourself and growing child, and I felt they did a good job at providing materials that enable women to do this! They provide the supplements, recipes that are geared towards meeting your nutrition needs during pregnancy and lots of evidence-based research literature and education!  I’m probably a nerd, but I love doing research and learning new things!

They provide prepackaged prenatal vitamins, which is super convenient along with a prenatal booster full of lots of extra nutrients your body needs during pregnancy along with breastfeeding.  I always continue to take my supplements while breastfeeding to insure that my body is getting everything it needs…. So, It’s safe to say that I’ve been taking pre and post natal support supplements since 2011:D #allthebabiesandmilkmaking 😀

I use a variety of plant-based, whole foods vitamin and mineral supplements and am grateful to have learned more about Forte and their products.  While I can’t say that this will be the vitamin supplement system for you, I can say that I am very impressed with the education and empowerment Forte provides with their pre and post-natal supplement program and how convenient they make their supplement program!

I have been very lucky and have experienced very little nausea in my pregnancies. However, I know not everyone is that lucky!  When I would get nauseous, I sucked on peppermints, took vitamin B6 and drank lots of iced cold natural ginger beer.  B6 and Ginger are two of the main ingredients in their anti-nausea supplement, so if you’re currently experiencing nausea in your pregnancy, hit me up and I will get some of these to you to try and review! Seriously though! E-mail me if you or someone you love is experiencing nausea in your pregnancy so we can see if these will help you out!  I have also learned through my pregnancies that I am the type that gets super nauseous if I take any vitamins on an empty stomach, so if you’re like me, be sure and get a big healthy meal in you before taking supplements.

No matter what supplement program you choose throughout your pregnancy and afterwards, be empowered to take care of yourself and that sweet growing babe of yours!  And try and enjoy it because it truly goes by so fast!

Featured Items

Forte Supplements

Bra: TheDairyFairy

Robes: ShopPinkBlush

Bonnet: WindyKnitsCo

Rattle: Yarnandhookmade

(Disclaimer: I received Forte product for means of review, but all opinions disclosed are my own honest opinions.)

Baking with my babes!

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Hey friends! So, if you have been following me for awhile, you know one of our absolute favorite things to do as a family, is bake together!  When we homeschooled last year, every week we baked/cooked something that coordinated with the letter we were learning that week. It was so fun and it’s so amazing getting to teach them baking skills and introducing them to new foods and such a fun way to incorporate learning into our week!  Some things we made were healthy, some not so much, but all so fun to make together! Cooking as a family is my favorite!  When Dad gets involved I love it that much more!  Chris is an insane cook and these girls don’t know yet just how lucky they are to have a Dad with such amazing culinary skills! #happywife!

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Having a house full of daughters is kind of like a dream come true!  I don’t know that I necessarily ever imagined this, but it is truly incredible!  We joke that we’re going to need to remodel our kitchen soon because our house is full of people who love to cook, including my husband who is the best of the best!  But, we probably really will have to… So, if you want to come help remodel our space, let me know:D

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It is so wonderful watching each of our daughters’ personalities develop, and you can see it so much when we bake.  Norah takes baking pretty seriously and wants to get the recipe right.  Charlie pretty much spends the whole time taste testing anything that falls onto the table and Ada just likes to bang spoons and make messes!

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It’s so fun watching them pick out their aprons, their whisk of choice, choosing which ingredients who gets to put in first and probably most of our recipes get extra eggs because egg cracking is their favorite part, next to dough tasting of course!

When my sweet friend Robyn told me she was flying into town from Phoenix and asked if we would want to do some photos, I knew right away that I wanted her to capture us doing one of our favorite things and do a little baking session! Guys, if you live in the Phoenix area, hit her up for photos!  She does it all and her work is so good! But seriously, she does such a great job at simply capturing what’s happening and makes you feel totally comfortable. So, please check her out if you’re in her neck of the woods! I maybe ugly face cried when looking at these because she did such an amazing job capturing the girls’ personalities and the little moments that make up our time spent baking with one another!

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We usually only get family photos done when we have a baby, so like once a year:D But, seriously, this was such a blessing!  Robyn did a little home session for us after we welcomed Ada and I cherish those moments so much! I knew I wanted to do something to remember this special season with these 3 little ladies before their 4th sister arrives, and this was absolutely perfect!  I am so excited to have those moments as our family of 6 beginning, but this was so very special!

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I imagine what life will be like when they’re in their teens and I get so excited! People make lots of negative comments about how terrible it will be, and I just smile because I know it doesn’t have to be!  I am so thankful to get to mother these ladies and when I imagine those years I imagine more coffee dates, more movie nights, more conversations in our kitchen… I know there will be rough moments, but I know none of those will compare to how wonderful the good ones will be!

A little alliteration for you!  Cooking Chocolate Chip Cookies wearing Comfy Clogs with the Cutest Crew!  See, education, education, education! IMG_6269

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Robyn, Thank you so much for the gift of these photos!  We are truly so grateful!  Check Robyn out at RobynRena.comInstagram and Facebook!

Featured Items

Norah’s Dress: RemieGirl

Charlie’s Dress, which she basically lives in: RyleeandCru

Charlie’s Hair Bows: TheLittleDesignCo

Ada’s Romper: ShopTheRabbitandFern

Momma’s top: LoveWinnieJames

Momma’s Clogs: SandgrenClogs

Some thoughts about Father’s Day & an Interview with my Love On Fatherhood

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Recently, BabyMori reached out to my super hunk of a husband, Chris, and asked him the question, What does Fatherhood mean to you?”  I was excited to read what he wrote because I am constantly amazed at what an incredible Father he is.  We talked in our dating days about wanting two daughters, and now that we’re about to have four daughters, I would have 100 more babies with this man!  On that note, want to have at least 5 more, husband? Just saying… think about it:D

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Father’s Day is one of those days that is bittersweet to me.  This will be the 8th Father’s Day that I mourn the loss of my Father and sister.  While I miss my dad tremendously, I can only imagine how much joy it would bring him to see the way my husband loves me and the way he fathers our daughters.  I know this is what he prayed for me when he first held me.  I imagine him rocking me to sleep and praying for me to have a husband who would love me and our children the way he loved my mother and me. I know that when he dreamt of having grandchildren, he dreamt of them being fathered by a man like Chris.  While I mourn the fact that my dad didn’t get to walk me down the aisle and give me away to Chris and mourn that he did not live to meet his grandchildren (he is about to have 9 now!) or embrace us as we welcomed our daughters and became parents, I know that the things he prayed over me were answered, and in more ways than I think he ever imagined.

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I miss my dad so much, especially on this day… But the joy that I feel when I see the smiles on the girls’ faces when they model a new dress for their father, or the way the girls soak up the way Chris teaches them how to play a new game or the way they hide and jump out to surprise him when Chris gets home for work… That joy and thankfulness trumps the pain that comes with not seeing my father today.  Chris preached at Church today, so he got there before we did.  When we walked into the sanctuary, the first thing they did was look around for their dad and then took off running for him as soon as they found him in the crowd.  That love they have for one another, that excitement they have as they run to their father and then watching the way he picks them up and embraces them, feeling that same excitement… It’s just so rich!

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So, with that, here is an interview with Chris on what Fatherhood means to him.  Happy Father’s Day to all of you Father’s out there, and for all of you may be mourning any kind of loss of a Father, a spouse or a child, I pray you feel more joy than pain today and that you are overwhelmed with love and peace each and every day you mourn those losses.

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An Interview with BabyMori- What does Fatherhood mean to you?

“Fatherhood is, to me, a gift, a responsibility and a blessing all rolled into one. I get to experience what it is like to have my hands involved in molding and shaping a life, but am also being molded and shaped by my daughters. My eyes are constantly opened to new things around me, in my daughters and in myself.  Fatherhood has shown and is showing me just how compassionate I can be, but at the same time, has shown me and shows me just how truly selfish I am and can be all at the same time. Fatherhood is one of the most fun things I have ever done while also exhausting and frustrating. I think Fatherhood is amazing, but also a weighty responsibility that I want to continue to grow in and handle correctly.  My understanding of what it means to be created in the image and likeness of my Creator has been broadened beyond what I ever thought it would be.

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On a related note, as a father to daughters, I will say that fatherhood has made me keenly aware of the way we, often unintentionally, belittle our female population. As we enter into the last stretch of pregnancy with our 4thdaughter, I am met with many comments about my lack of sons that are increasingly frustrating to me.  Many times the conversation goes this way:

Person – “Wow, your 4th child.  Do you know if it’s a boy or girl yet?”

Me – “It’s my 4th girl”

Person – “Wow, I’m sorry” or “You must have more patience than me” or “Still don’t have that boy yet?” or “Will try until you get a boy?”

IMG_7078Now, I understand where the line of questioning comes from, but this is often in front of or within earshot of my daughters.  I would love to take this opportunity to say that I absolutely love raising these little girls and in no way feel as though I was left out of something simply because I do not have a son, or that in some crazy way, these girls are of less value to me than having a son. I thank God for these 4 precious girls that I have been entrusted with and cherish the fact that I’m able to be part of their lives, and they a part of mine.  Sure, the novelty of raising a little boy is alluring and I enjoy entertaining the thought of having a little mini-me running around.  That novelty, however, pales in comparison to the blessing of this house that is filled with estrogen.  I want to see the gifts set before me and be diligent to raise strong, productive, useful, and joy filled women. I am planning a small bunker for myself for the future, though, and will be practicing my most intimidating facial expressions and death threats for the boys that will be knocking on my door.” -Chris Pahls.

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To read more inspiring stories about Fatherhood, head over BabyMori and read more in their Journal Series.

Photos By Robyn Bunch, Courtney Unruh & Stephanie Pollock

 

Yes, my husband really does my hair!

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetAnd…He’s super good at it!  When I started going gray right after getting married, and we were super poor from just graduating college and getting married, I started having my husband, Chris dye my hair at home.  It took some experimenting and learning a lot about what I liked, didn’t like, what my hair was like, but I feel like we’ve got it now!

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He’s actually even cut and layered my hair a few times and he is so good!  Chris and I both like to save money where we can and so I started cutting his hair when we started dating thanks to some good youtube videos, but now he does both mine and his own!  That guy can fade his hair incredibly!  #impressed!!! We have tried lots of home dye kits and I think I have found my favorite color and brand.  Zotos Professional reached out to me and asked if I would want to try their products and be apart of their Age Beautifully campaign and with a 31 year old head full of grays, Im really glad we tried them out!

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I have learned that my hair pulls red out from just about any color, so I have to use Cool, Ash colors or my hair goes maroon.  I’ve also learned that medium’s make my hair super dark and darks make my hair black.  So, I was excited to try their Medium Ash Brown and see if it did what I was hopeful for.

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Chris teases me a lot when we do my hair because I have a bit of a cycle of wanting to dye my hair, doing it, hating it and then doing it all over again.  I tell him that’s because the color I’m always hopeful to get doesn’t work out… or the color doesn’t last like I wish it would.. Please tell me, actually, please tell him that I’m not the only lady who does this.

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Ada showcasing my freshly dyed,  soft brown locks:D 

I am happy to say that this wasn’t the case this time!  My hair came out the perfect chocolatey medium brown with no red, no grays and looked healthier than it did before we did it!

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We have used two of their products so far, and I really enjoyed both of them. We have used their Medium Ash Brown Age Beautiful permanent color which I love and, more recently, we tried their Bronze Tint Shine. This comes in several colors, even clear, but this is a demi- permanent product that we applied 4 weeks later to spruce up, blend grays, add shine and add a little bit of bronze glow. Super pretty and only took 10 minutes! Both were easy to use, smelled great, hid my grays perfectly, made my hair super soft and smooth, the colors were exactly what I was hopeful for and have lasted wonderfully!

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThere are a few reasons I truly do prefer doing my hair at home and no longer in a salon. Sure, I definitely enjoy a fancy haircut in a salon every now and then, but I truly prefer dyeing my hair at home.  The first reason is the price. The last time I had my hair professionally dyed was in college and it ran me about $120.  That’s 2 weeks of groceries for us, which makes paying around $15  lot more doable for us! The second is the last few times I had my hair done professionally, I left feeling upset because I asked for a Medium Ash and left both times with black/maroon hair.

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RBFace Expression captured perfectly by our 4 year old:D Thanks Norah:D 

After this happened several different times at several different salons, I pretty much felt done with that. And most importantly, I can be at home, in a robe and spend extra time with the Mr. and the girls.  I also love how into it Chris gets.  He’s an artist and he loves creative process and actually takes me and the process seriously, so I know he’s going to do a great job.  If he had it his way, he says he would let my hair just be natural and actually thinks my grays are sexy:D We have different definitions of sexy right now:D

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While I love this about him, and am so thankful for the way he sees me, I am really thankful that he is still helping me keep those grays covered for now. I truly hope the little ladies marry dudes who see them like Chris sees me and will do things like dye their hair for them if that’s what they want! Chris doesn’t do this for me because he loves doing it, but because he loves me and wants to do this if it makes me happy.  He’s so selfless, even in dyeing my hair and I know that I am so blessed to be married to a dude like this! Single ladies, marry a guy that will do your hair for you:D

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You can buy Zotos Professional Age Beautifully exclusively at Sally’s Beauty Supply! You can use this code online and in stores to receive $3.00 off your bottle of Age Beautiful Tint Shine: 555198

(Disclosure: I sometimes receive product for personal review purposes but all opinions stated above are my own, honest opinions. You can click links in post to be directed to these websites and learn more about the products featured in this blog.)

A Favorite Baby Keepsake

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When we had our babies, I knew I wanted something special to display in our home, commemorating the special moments that we met our sweet ladies, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do this.  I’ve seen so many cool things on Pinterest, creative ways of displaying birth dates, time of birth and other sweet little facts about that baby and exact moment in time when we first met…but nothing felt right.

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One day, I stumbled upon TheBirthPoster on Instagram and I fell in love! I loved the design and the awesome and unique idea of illustrating a piece of art that adapts a 1:1 scale to your baby’s actual length at birth, their weight, date of birth and exact moment of their arrival!

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I love their minimal design,  how well they look displayed together and how we could personalize them and showcase that very special moment when we met for the very first time!!! When it came time to order them, I loved them even more after the awesome customer service we received from the very talented couple who makes up TheBirthPoster and creates these sweet pieces!

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You can customize your poster to your liking by choosing between six different illustrations and two different background colors, Grey and Beige. We chose Grey and for them to all face the same direction, leading up our stairs.  Getting a picture in this spot is difficult but I love reading these and remembering how blessed I am to have these babies every time I come up and down the stairs!

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We joke that sweet baby girl #4 will have to be our last baby because we only have one more spot on the wall next to these posters!

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I guess we do have another wall on the next flight of stairs that could use some love though:D #allthebabies 😀

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I searched and searched for frames that I wanted for these, but after looking for awhile, my brother-in-law told me he could make me what I wanted and for 1/4 of the cost of what I was finding!  Nick made the pine frames and then we had some cheap glass cut to fit the size of the frames at a local shop.  That made the frames about $15 each instead of $50 each, which is what we seemed to be finding everywhere else… Thank you Uncle Nicky! We love them! Makes each poster twice as special!

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These posters are, by far, some of our favorite pieces in our home and we are so excited to add our next BirthPoster sharing the details of the moment we meet our sweet Frances Grey in October!

If you’re looking for a fun and creative way to personalize the moment you met your sweet babes, please check TheBirthPoster out!  They are seriously awesome!

 

 

International Family Day: An Interview With BabyMori – Inspiring Lives 14: The Importance of Family, Kindness and Accepting Loss


  • How did you and your husband, Chris, first meet? 

Chris and I will never stop laughing about how we met!  I’ll try and set up the scene. It’s 2004, we’re college freshman, I’m maybe hung over (because #college and I was into poor choices at this stage in my life:D) and I was dressed in what we will call ‘not my best look’. We were in our University Cafeteria, and I’m standing in front of a TV & and literally shoveling ranch dressing smothered cottage cheese into my mouth using a chicken strip as my utensil of choice when my friend came over and introduced Chris and I 😀 I knew him after that as Hot Art Student Chris and he knew me as That Weird Chicken Strip Girl 😀 We didn’t begin dating until two years later, and have been inseparable since, but to this day Chris will joke, “I can’t believe I married the chicken strip girl”. So, maybe not a love at first sight story but it makes for a good story and we will never stop laughing about it. Oh, and I’ve been working on my table manners and Hot Art Chris has only continued to get hotter and hotter:D

  • Life isn’t always kind to everyone. How do you both approach life with such positivity and love?

Chris and I both understand that you can’t take life too seriously.  We have learned to really value the good moments, as we understand it is these moments that will help get us through the more difficult times.  We both value kindness and try to remember that the person honking their horn at us maybe just found out they have cancer, or the mean lady in line at the coffee shop is maybe grieving the loss of her best friend.  We understand that people are hurting all around us and believe we are called to be kind and loving to all people at all times. We both share the belief that everybody has a story to tell, everyone’s story is very valuable and sometimes these stories really just need to be shared and listened to. 2016-04-20 09.17.39.jpg

  • You’ve both lost family in the past, something that can be so difficult to cope with. How has family helped you to find the light at the end of the tunnel?

Chris and I were dating when my father and 17-year-old sister were killed in a tragic car accident.  I kind of lost myself for a while.  I hurt in a way I didn’t know was possible and I was hurting even more deeply for my family, watching them grieve.  I know watching my family and I hurt the way we did was difficult for Chris. I remember Chris not really giving me advice when I was really hurting, but just trying to be there and listen to me when I needed it. He still tries to do this. Please do this for your friends experiencing loss. Just be there for them. Just listen to them. Just cry with them…

Chris lost both his grandparents in the same week and my water actually broke with our first daughter the morning of their funeral so we were unable to attend.  As strange as this sounds, we gained such interesting perspective through this.  Although we will all experience extreme sorrow on this earth, there is still immeasurable joy that happens alongside this sorrow as well. However, sometimes you have to choose which thing you’re going to give more attention to, the sorrow or the joy.

All of us will experience loss and difficulty but we also all get to choose how we respond and react to these difficult times and painful emotions.  After the loss of my dad and sister, I reacted in many ways. Some reactions were good, some were damaging, but in the end, with Chris’ love and support, I went back to school and became a therapist so I could walk alongside people who were going through their most difficult times and be a part of their healing process.  We have learned, though, that you don’t need any kind of special degree to walk alongside people and help; we can all do this every day.

We can take the time to visit with the person checking us out at our your local grocers, we can be kind and buy someone’s coffee behind us in line at the local coffee shop or simply compliment and encourage that sleep deprived mother trying to convince her toddlers why they don’t need that candy that they’re letting the world know they need… You’ll be amazed at the connections and relationships that will form around you if you take the time to do these simple things daily.  Listening to people’s stories and sharing ours can have so much power and impact on the world around us. Chris and I believe we were made for connection and community and these are ways we have learned to join together as a family and connect with others around us no matter what season of life we may be in.

  • Moments are so rare because they come and go so quickly. For you, what family moments will you always hold close?

When it pertains to loss, I will never forget the moment I held my father’s hands or touched my sister’s beautiful face and said goodbye to them for the last time as they laid in their caskets. I can’t help but cry and breathing sometimes becomes difficult when I think of this moment, knowing I wouldn’t see them or touch them in this life again.

However, when I think of this moment, I also begin to think of the many unforgettable memories that made saying goodbye to them so difficult.  I remember the first time I held Bethany in the hospital when she was born and being so excited to have another little sister.  She was such a spunky, compassionate and genuinely unforgettable person. I remember my dad sharing with me, shortly before he passed, the regrets he had as a father and asking me for his forgiveness while expressing his deep love for me as his first-born daughter. My mind is flooded with memories of family game nights, road trips across the country and so many of my dad’s corny jokes that I will forever be grateful for!

I have learned so much from my family and so much more in having to say goodbye to them. Their loss made me realize I will say goodbye to other loved ones before I’m ready to, so I am trying to be more aware of this and hold tightly to the happy moments, especially as a wife and mother.

When it pertains to my family, there are so many memories that will stay with me.  The moment Chris asked me to be his wife, the moment we promised to love one another even through the hardest of times, the moment we became parents and every moment we met each one of our daughters for the first time. Every time we welcome a baby, I look at him and feel the deepest emotion that I don’t even know how to describe.  It’s like, WE did this! You did this! I did this! This is our baby, this is our family.  I think about this feeling and treasure it deeply.

IMG_6767.jpgThere are so many moments, which might be considered mundane, that have become so precious and almost sacred to me because I have learned that forever is a lot shorter than it sounds. Making pancakes in the morning, singing songs in the bathtub, the girls crawling into our bed after they’ve peed in theirs:D  I know these moments are fleeting and I want to hold onto them as long as I can!

  • What does family mean to you and how do you enjoy the little moments?

To me, family is a gift.  I don’t necessarily deserve my family or this life of ours, and yet they have been given to me and I to them… And for that, I am so thankful. There are some days I almost can’t believe how blessed I am! Before we had children, I was such an extrovert.  Now, I’m happiest at home hanging out with our family! I love and look forward to the days where our calendars are empty and all we have to do is to hang out with one another! Movie nights, dance parties, baking and making meals together, playing outside, watching the girls play together… Even cleaning the house is so much more fun as a family! I know my family is a gift and I am so thankful and continue to grow more and more thankful!  I think the best way to embrace family is to understand that it truly is a gift and to try my best to act in a manner that reflects this gratitude.

  • Finally, what does motherhood mean to you?

Motherhood.  So much can be found wrapped up into the word Motherhood. Motherhood is one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given.  Motherhood is a huge responsibility, a new identity, a constant dance of evolving and adjusting. Motherhood brought with it new insecurities, new challenges, new opinions, new fears, new convictions, new emotions, new abilities, new passions, new hopes and aspirations, new relationships, new priorities… To me, there was almost my life before motherhood and my life after motherhood.  Motherhood is not the only thing that defines me, but it is a confounding element that has completely redefined me.

 

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Read more inspiring stories @ https://babymori.com/blogs/journal . Thank you for letting me share my heart @BabyMori!
 Photos by StephPollock & RobynBunch

 

 

Sister, Sister, Sister, Sister: Sisterly Love

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Motherhood is more amazing than I could have ever imagined. There are so many aspects that I never knew existed or never even thought about before having our own children.  One of those things I never really thought about when we were dreaming of children, was what it would be like to get to watch their relationships with one another form and change as they grew.  We planned to have one baby, and now, 5 years later, our 4th girl is due in October:D  Watching these little ladies is such a gift! I can think back to when they were so little and just learning how to use words and communicate with one another…And now they’re best friends, most of the time, and doing just about everything they do with one another!

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I am the oldest of 4, with 2 younger sisters and a brother whom I love dearly.  I also gained 2 brothers and an amazing sister-in-law when I married my husband.  Our youngest sister, Bethany went to be with the Lord 8 years ago when she was 17 and I miss her more than I can express.  Losing Bethany strengthened the bond I have with my sister Heather and has taught me so much about how incredible the gift of siblings can be.

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I have a lot of regret as a sibling. I feel like I missed getting to know my siblings or pouring into them the way I should have… mostly because of my own selfishness… One thing I really want my daughters to understand is that they are precious gifts to one another and their job as a sister is to be selfless, compassionate and a best friend to one another…  I want to model that they are to be understanding and gentle with one another; to hold one another accountable yet give one another lots of grace. It’s easy to get frustrated and judgy with the ones you love most.  I am guilty of this and wish I would have shown my love to my siblings better.  I pray that through what I have learned, these daughters will love and protect one another in such a way that when they look back on life, they can smile and know they always were there for one another and that they will never feel alone in the many stages of life they go through.

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When it comes to the girls’ personalities and interests, all of our girls all pretty ‘girly girly’ but some of their favorite interests include learning, reading, baking, playing with dolls & barbies, playing dress up in princess dresses and momma’s clothes, lots and lots of make believe, playing midwives, doing make-up, building forts, dance parties, making & playing with play dough, painting, coloring, playing tag and hide-and-seek, playing outside and really just doing anything together! Norah wants everything Disney Princess Ariel, Charlie wants all things Princess Rapunzel and Ada likes anything she can throw or chew on:D

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It is truly so interesting how different they are from one another…. Chris and I started talking last night about what it might be like welcoming our fourth little lady, and we couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of four daughters but more so, about Ada becoming a big sister! She is so funny and wild and is going to be so in love!

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To describe them each briefly, Norah wakes up in the mornings like Disney Princess happy! Charlie always wakes up a bit grumpy and hungry and Ada always wakes up way too early and ready to wrestle and play.  Whenever Ada sees her two big sisters in the morning, she squeals with joy and instantly tries to wrestle with them!  It’s amazing watching how much she loves them, how much they love her and how much they all just love one another! My heart swoons thinking about the 3, soon to be 4 of them, growing up together and all the memories they will make together! Norah is our social butterfly, Charlie is our super creative artist and Ada kind of acts like she’s been raised by wolves 😀 I’m so excited to see what baby girl #4 will be like?! Also excited to giver her a name!

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Our two oldest have recently entered the ‘fighting’ stage and they are, surprisingly, very good at it.  One minute, they will be playing barbies, the next minute they’re fighting over who said what and then act as if the world is ending.  Chris and I are working on trying to learn what works best for each of them and that’s an interesting process as well. They fight over who gets to wear what outfit and they almost always ask to be “matchy matchy” which just means dress similarly, so I’m getting smarter about getting them “matchy matchy” coordinating outfits

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Even in the more difficult times, I am so grateful to be their mother and feel so blessed to call these daughters ours! Sometimes I just watch them and smile and take 1,000 photos so I never forget how these moments felt… When they hug and tell one another they love each other, or compliment and encourage one another… all the hard stuff seems to melt away…well, most of the time:D Motherhood is simply amazing and I am so grateful for our little girl party!”

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We are very thankful to have partnered with LittleCottonClothes and their Sisterly Love campaign for this piece.  Thank you LittleCottonClothes!

Heidi Skirts and Sidonie Sailor Shirts by LittleCotton Clothes

Knee Socks by RedRoverKids & AtHomeWithAveryGrace

More than just a Chalkboard

I get a lot of questions regarding our chalkboard and where we purchased it or if we made it how we did it, so I thought it would be a good idea to write a little tutorial and share a little about it!

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When we started educating at home a little more, I knew I wanted a chalkboard to incorporate into our lessons, but wasn’t sure where to get one or where to put it.  Then my handsome and brilliant husband had the idea to make our own! We were new to our home and had a big empty space on our dining room wall that we knew we wanted to fill with something and a chalkboard felt perfect! Also, our 1935 home has plaster and lath walls so hanging heavy stuff can be quite tricky, so we try to avoid drilling into and hanging anything heavy as much as possible in these bad boys. This method was easy and kind on our walls!

We only had to get 2 things! Black chalkboard paint and Pine 1×2’s!  We got both from our local hardware store for less than $20!!! Chris measured and taped off the wall and rolled on about 3 coats of the chalkboard paint. We had an idea of how big we wanted it so we knew what length of 1×2’s to get before we purchased them.  Then he just cut the sides to fit. Once the paint dried, he simply nailed the 1×2’s to the wall!

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We’ve had friends stain their wood dark, use pallet wood or larger planks, use dark green chalkboard paint, paint the entire wall without framing it, make smaller chalkboards, etc.  It’s a super simple and affordable project that can easily be altered to fit your space and personal aesthetic!

 

 

We have used this chalkboard as a centerpiece for Birthday’s, Home Births, Baby Gender Announcements, Going Away Parties for friends, home education, Holiday’s and even recently for an intimate Wedding we hosted for some dear friends…Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

 

I feel like I can’t call this ‘just a chalkboard’  because it has been incorporated into so many special memories and holds so many dear moments for us in our home!

So many meals, special events, laughter and valuable conversations shared with friends, so many teachable moments we shared with our children and things we learned ourselves as parents, even our oldest’s first portrait of me and our family was a chalkboard piece!

So, I hope this was helpful and that you’re inspired to create a special place in your home to be used for all kinds of memory-making moments and events!