I recently read Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark, a really sweet little book that is essentially the diary of an English dog.  It’s cute and lighthearded and a quick read, not to mention beautifully illustrated.  It is such a pretty book!  Plum is the main character and she actually has her own blog that is totally adorable.

This book would make a good stocking stuffer for any dog lovers you are buying for this Christmas!

I received this book for free as part of the Blogging for Books Program; all opinions are 100% mine.


Five Stars

Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People by Nadia Bolz-Weber is, hands down, the best book I have read in a very long time.  Bolz-Weber is the pastor of a Denver church called House for All Sinners and Saints, and quite the departure from any pastor I’ve ever heard/read.  She is a former stand up comedian, who is sarcastic and sometimes profane.  And, wow, she and this book were exactly what I needed.

I grew up in a tradition that preached about the danger of legalism, while still handing out a pretty long list of “dos and don’ts”.  So partly out of my natural desire to please those in authority, and partly because I love rules and order, I never really learned how to be a “good Christian” without being legalistic.  And I never ever learned to appreciate liturgy.  I thought it was only for Catholics and was devoid of real meaning.  But after reading this book, I think differently and can see some stunning beauty in it.

In Accidental Saints, Bolz-Weber tells a collection of stories centered around the parishoners she pastors and the outpouring of God’s great grace on herself and those she leads.  It’s fantastic.  There are so many excerpts that I’d like to post that it would border on copyright infringement.  Honestly, something in every chapter spoke to my heart.  And while I don’t agree with Pastor Bolz-Weber on every theological, political, or moral issue, I don’t have to.  I think that’s part of the beauty of her book.  We don’t have to look alike, or see eye to eye on everything to be able to learn from each other.

And so I give an enthusiastic five stars to Accidental Saints.  Go grab a copy.

I received this book for free as part of the Blogging for Books Program through WaterBrook Multnomah.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can pierce the heart.

I really wish that I were the kind of person who was secure enough in who (and Whose) I am to not let the opinions of others hurt me.  But I’m not.  The truth is, I have many insecurities and although my feelings don’t get severely hurt often, they do get hurt.

A few days ago, my feelings were seriously hurt in an online setting, and to approach the person who hurt me would probably only escalate things.  So I’m trying to let it go.  But it’s hard.  I don’t hold any malice toward this person and it’s possible that she wasn’t trying to be hurtful, but I’m still having a hard time moving on.  Last night I ate my feelings (Chocolate Therapy by Ben & Jerry’s and a glass of wine), which really did make me feel better temporarily.  I’m hoping that writing about it will be a more lasting therapeutic exercise.

I guess it’s good to be hurt every once in a while, because it serves as a reminder that words carry weight.  They have the power to build up or tear down, and encourage or destroy.  And I want to be one who encourages.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.”  Psalm 19:14

Bye Bye, Hair!

I cut my hair a few years ago and fully intended to send it to Locks of Love—I even put it in an envelope and addressed it!  But, sadly, it never made it to the post office because the envelope mysteriously vanished.  My hair was long enough again to donate this summer, so right before my maternity leave ended, my wonderful stylist chopped it all off!

In the end, I decided against Locks of Love and chose the Pantene Beautiful Lengths Program, but both are worthy causes.


One of my “30 before 30” goals was to complete a triathlon, and I thought it would be a great incentive to get back in shape after Hudson was born.  So even before he was born, I knew that I would be doing one at Moss Park on October 3.  When I told Andrew my goal, he said that he would join me, which was great!  We could train together and stay together during the race, and just push each other to do our best.

I started exercising regularly again when Hudson was about 3 months old, which gave me about 8 weeks to train for the tri.  I never was able to complete all three (or even two) of the events back to back in my training, but I knew that if Andrew was with me, he would keep me accountable during the race and I would finish.  We had no time goals.  We just wanted to cross the finish line (and not be last).  And we did it!  We were 28 out of 35 and finished in just under two hours, but we did it!!

So in case you missed my Instagram posts, here are my pictures from the day.

God Gave Us Sleep

God Gave Us Sleep is a sweet book by Lisa Tawn Bergren, author of God Gave Us You, and several others.  The story opens with Mama Bear calling in Little Cub from playtime to begin her evening routine, and addresses why we need to sleep, bad dreams, and a busy mind, as well as how we feel when we don’t get enough sleep.

I don’t think that this book alone will solve a parent’s bedtime troubles, but it does serve as a good jumping off point to talk about issues that present themselves at bedtime, and is just a cute story in and of itself.  God Gave Us Sleep is available at

I received this book for free as part of the Blogging for Books program through WaterBrook Multnomah.  All opinions are 100% mine.

And Baby Makes Four: A Birth Story

Our precious, lively boy arrived over four months ago and I am just now putting “pen to paper” to relive the day.  My memory has clouded a bit with the details/timing, but I think you’ll get the idea of what happened. 😉

The morning of April 28, a Tuesday, began uneventfully.  We got up, had breakfast, and Andrew left for a dentist appointment before going to work while Jane and I got ready for swimming lessons.  I had just sat down at the computer to check something when I saw an e-mail from Jane’s swim instructor cancelling lessons because of inclement weather.  Shucks!  We were really looking forward to our Mommy and Me lesson!  Well, 15 minutes later I was still at the computer when I felt a little leak.  Oh, boy!  Maybe my water broke! Run to the restroom and am confused.  There’s not much fluid, but I really don’t think I had an accident. 8:45 AM

So I called the midwife telling her what happened.  No contractions yet, and maybe my water broke?  She said that it was probably my water, to take it easy and she would check on me later.

About the same time, I texted Andrew to call me as soon as he was finished with the dentist.  That appointment felt like it took forever!!  When he finally called back, he asked if he was going to be staying home today.  And I said yes!  So he came home and we just tried to enjoy our very last day as a family of four.

My contractions started about the time Andrew came home (an hour after my water broke), but they were very irregular.  We decided to go on a walk at 1145 which helped to strengthen the contractions (and put Jane to sleep).  By the time we finished the walk, my contractions were between 2 and 6 minutes apart lasting 30-45 seconds.  I don’t remember how long we walked, but it wasn’t a really long or intense walk, but we did return hungry, so Andrew went to get lunch at Chipotle.  1:00 PM

Just look at that belly.

Just look at that belly.

20150428_114004 20150428_114021

We had decided while we were walking that Andrew’s parents should plan to come get Jane around 3, hoping that my contractions would be more intense and that Hudson would be well on his way by then.  Well, 3:00 came and though the contractions were stronger, I was still feeling pretty good and it was so hard to say goodbye to Jane.  We tried to take one last picture as a family of 3, but they all turned out really blurry and out of focus.  I held it together to say goodbye to Jane since I didn’t want her to get upset, but once she rode away, I did shed a few tears.

Callie had been checking in on me all day, but by 4:30, I was getting frustrated.  The contractions were every 4-15 minutes, lasting 20-30 seconds.  If I stayed up and active they were closer together, but by this point I was starting to get tired.  Callie told me to rest and that she would give me a massage when she got to the house.  So Andrew and I passed the time by reading, playing cards, and watching The Office.

Callie got to the house around 8 and gave me a nice massage, then I ate dinner that Andrew had picked up (Panera & Publix), and drank a glass of red wine.  By this time, it was 10:30, so Andrew and I headed to bed to try to rest and Callie laid down on the couch.  My contractions had finally started to intensify, thanks to being able to relax, so it was pretty difficult to sleep, but I did manage to doze off for about 30 minutes.  Andrew took a good nap, but every time he moved it really annoyed me, and it seemed that he only moved when I was contracting.  11:45 PM

I had had enough by this time so I woke Andrew up and had him get Callie.  She checked me and said I was 8 cm.  She called her backup midwife, and we texted the birth photographer to come over.  Midnight.

There is a mix up between my chiropractor and Andrew now.  Her first name is the same as the photographer and Andrew asks her to come instead.  When we realize the mistake, I immediately text her back apologizing.  This really stinks because she had already left her house, so she had to turn around.  I’m sorry, Dr. Spaulding!!!

Get in the tub.  12:50 AM

I got out of the tub at one point to use the bathroom, but while I was up I had the urge to push, so I actually started pushing on the toilet, but then got back in the water.  I was determined to have a water baby this time.

At some point I yell at Hudson to just get out!!

I originally wanted to catch him, but then told Callie I couldn’t.  I needed all of my strength and focus to push.  So she asked Andrew if he’d like to catch.  He didn’t really know, if he wanted to, but she helped him catch our son.

April 29 at 3:33 AM

He is here.


“I’m sorry I yelled at you, Hudson.”

e-93I stayed in the water for a little bit before handing Hudson to Andrew so that I could get out.  When I stood up, I could barely walk.  Callie later told me that my hips had prolapsed.  I eventually made it to the bed and started to nurse Hudson while waiting for the placenta.  Callie kept encouraging me to push when I got the urge, but I was sick of pushing.  So then she had to threaten me with going to the hospital for a retained placenta.  I pushed.  It was delivered.  No hospital.

e-104Between the stitches (small tear), newborn exam, and shower, Andrew and I didn’t get to bed until about 8, right after my mom came over to drop off a meal before work.  So we were completely exhausted, but completely in love with our precious boy and so very thankful for a healthy and safe delivery and such a wonderful midwife and birth team.




Photo credits: Erin Miller Photography

In This House We Will Giggle

The title of this book caught my eye immediately.  I want my kids to remember their formative years as fun, while at the same time instilling in them our core values, and that is exactly what In This House We Will Giggle discusses.

Courtney DeFeo (a member of my church, I came to discover!) lays out twelve virtues, one for every month, and outlines fun ways to incorporate that value into daily life.  The idea is that we can model these virtues and behaviors for our children and teach them in a way that isn’t legalistic or performance driven; it’s about molding their hearts.  And although Jane is a little young for many of the activities, we can still start with the memory verses and some of the exercises now, and it is never to early to lead by example.  You can check out the book for yourself on Amazon.

I received this book as part of the Blogging for Books Program through WaterBrook Multnomah.  All opinions are 100% mine.

The End of Our Whole30

Well, I’m sorry to say that we lasted a whopping 15 days on our Whole30.  That last morning Jane was spending the day with her cousins and grandparents, Andrew was at work, and Hudson and I needed to run some errands, and when I woke up, I thought “I’m going to Panera today”.  So I did.  It was yummy.

I was hoping that having been off of sugar for two weeks would have released the hold that sugar has on me, but it didn’t.  That being said, it was really good to know that I can give up sugar.

Although we were not successful in our endeavor, I would like to try it again next year.  And we have incorporated several of the recipes into our regular meal rotation.  For instance, we love sweet potato fries and cauliflower rice, as well as zoodles and meat sauce.  Next time we do this, I need to have meals planned out more than a week ahead, because it started to get too exhausting to meal plan every week.

My Whole30… So Far

I was introduced to the idea of Whole30 by a coworker who was trying to pinpoint allergens, and then it kept popping up on my radar for the next few months.  When I heard that it could help me kick my sugar addiction (which kicked into high gear during my pregnancy with Hudson) and improve Andrew’s joint pain, I was ready to sign up!

So on July 1, Andrew, my mom and his mom all started our Whole30 journey.  I have done more cooking and dishes in the last 10 days than I care for, and meal planning isn’t exactly the most fun thing in the world, but I have absolutely seen some positives.  I actually know what we’re going to eat every night instead of walking up to the refrigerator at 4:30pm and wondering how on earth I’m going to feed my family.  We’re not wasting food.  We’re eating a variety of fruits and vegetables (I’ve eaten broccoli twice in 10 days… a food I previously hated!).  We’re not wasting money picking up take out.  We’re exposing Jane (and ourselves) to lots of new foods and broadening our palate.  And I’ve lost weight!  So far the jury is still out on Andrew’s joints, but we’re not even halfway through, and some of the gluten and other potential toxins are still working their way out of our systems.

None of us every experienced horrible withdrawal symptoms, but I was pretty hypoglycemic in the mornings of days 2-6ish.  And on day 4, both Jane and I threw up.  I was also weak feeling for several days.  Now, though, we all feel pretty normal.

This nutritional reset has been about the most difficult test of willpower of my life.  If it weren’t for the fact that this was my idea and I’m dragging three other people along with me, I would have quit on the first day.  And when I lost 6 pounds in 5 days and felt super weak, I would have quit then, too.  But now I am so proud of myself for making it this far!  I have looked a delectable slice of chocolate cake in the face and said “I don’t need you”, and I have ignored the handful of chocolate chips that are waiting for me in my freezer door.  One stop closer to beating my sugar addiction!  That being said, we have allowed ourselves to consume a few “off plan” things.  First, neither of us think alcohol has anything to do with our ailments, so we’re okay having an occasional hard cider/beer.  Second, we had company over one night and I wanted to make sure everyone left with a full belly, so we had quinoa.  Finally, you’re not supposed to indulge in sweets at all, but one night we mashed up a few bananas and mixed in some cocoa powder.  All in all, though, I think we have done really well, and though we may not be following the outlined plan to the letter, we are well on the way to meeting our goals.

As far as specific recipes, we have had mostly eggs and bacon for breakfasts, leftovers or Boar’s Head turkey for lunch, and a variety of dinners:

As you can see, we’re getting quite a variety!  And although it’s hard work, it’s fun sampling new foods as a family.