Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thankful Thursday #3

It's been a while since I did a "Thankful Thursday" post. Let's change that right now! Here are a few things I've been extra thankful for this week:

Our Local Library + Magic Shows

Yesterday morning, our small-town library hosted a magic show. Piper has been OBSESSED with balloons for quite a while now, and so, going to see a magician who specializes in making balloon-animals definitely made Piper's dreams come true.

All I have to say is this butterfly balloon better last forever, or else I'm going to have to learn how to make balloon animals myself, and fast.

Beach Weather

This one deserves a few different photos to visually explain how much we have been enjoying beach weather, lately. 

Whenever we have an evening {or even a morning} without plans and the weather is nice, you can bet we're headed to the beach. We live so close to Lake Erie and we only get this kind of weather for a few months out of the year so, we definitely over-indulge in the beach nights, binge-style at times.


This one might seem a little strange to some but, hear me out. I took to YouTube a few weeks ago to help document my weight-loss journey and since starting, I have begun losing weight again! This has taken accountability to a new level for me. Every Friday, I plan to post a weigh-in video with my next video airing sometime tomorrow. {"Airing" -- haha. I'm such a dork. It shouldn't take you long to realize that if you watch some of my videos.} 

My Husband

If I could get away with it, I would post "my husband" in this list every single week but, I think ya'll would get sick of that real quick. This week, though, I have to do it. I don't always make it easy on him but, he always does everything in his power to make life easy on me. He says I make him a better man but, I truly wouldn't be the woman I am without him. We've been together since we were 15 years old and he still makes me laugh

Tuesday night this week, I wasn't feeling my best, so he suggested I go upstairs and take some time to relax while he played with Piper downstairs. He tells me to take a break for myself often but, I try to only take him up on it when I really need it. This night in particular, I needed it. I went upstairs and binge-watched some netflix in my pj's with no shame and no worry because I knew "he got this". Subsequently, Nick went on to do Piper's full bedtime routine, and called me in just in time to give her a kiss goodnight.

This guy is a saint on the daily. It's never about him. He is constantly putting us before himself and just when he knows all is well with us, then, just then does he take time for himself. I could never do Nick justice through my words of gratitude. He's just too good to us and he's never been better than ever since he's become a dad.

Beach Weather

Did I already say that once? Oh, sorry. I really mean it!

Want to know what else I've been thankful for recently? 
Here are a couple of my previous "Thankful Thursday" posts: #1 & #2.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Smoothie Recipe + Collagen Benefits

Smoothies for breakfast are my jam right now.  My smoothies give me energy {thanks, cacao!} and help me start off the day feeling great!

Here's what I'm using in my morning smoothies right now:

1 banana
2-3 large frozen strawberries
1 cup of coconut milk
2.5 tbsp. cacao
1/2 scoop whey protein powder
1 scoop unflavored collagen

Collagen is a newer ingredient in my morning smoothie. It doesn't add any flavor but, it does have it's benefits! Benefits like:

  • Glowing skin** 
  • A more youthful appearance** 
  • Joint health** 
  • Tendon & bone strength** 
  • Healthy cartilage** 
  • Increased athletic performance** 
  • Improved digestion** 
  • Gut health** 
  • Deeper sleep**

I have just started using collagen in my smoothies this week and I look forward to sharing if I notice a difference after I've been using it for a while. Lord knows I need better joint health & couldn't we all benefit from a more youthful appearance?

Yesterday morning 'round here was a mix of rain and sun. During the rainy portions of the morning, we stayed inside and did a couple fun activities. One activity in particular I wanted to share with you because it is so simple! All you need is a set of alphabet blocks. 

I wrote out the alphabet on a piece of leftover cardboard and Piper started matching up the alphabet like it was her job. I was so proud!

When the sun would come out, we would go outside. Then, it started raining again just in time for us to come in for lunch. I made Piper a plate of some fresh vegetables with black beans and made myself a leafy green salad {in effort to make up for my weekend over-indulgences}.

Monday was a success on the healthy-living front! I actually went more than half of the day eating raw fruits and vegetables. My body felt so good because of it.

My husband and I have been toying around with the idea of consuming less meat in our diet. I love meat, and I don't think I'll ever give it up completely but, I can't deny how good my body feels whenever I'm eating raw vegetables for the majority of my daily meals.

Readers, any of you meat-free for most or all of your meals?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Summer Weekends + Weigh-In Video #1

Summer weekends. Nothing can beat them. And also, I couldn't seem to help myself but to over-indulge for two of those summer weekends in a row, now.

Last weekend, it was a date night on Friday with my husband and a movie night at my mom's on Saturday. This weekend, it was a picnic at the in-laws on Friday and a graduation party on Sunday.

While I didn't go completely overboard this most recent weekend, I did lack the motivation and discipline to keep track and count everything I was eating at these events.

Even though I haven't been doing great on the weekends, I have been doing extra awesome during the work-weeks. This one will be no exception. I plan on drinking all of my 120 ounces of water every day and staying within calories Monday - Friday, just like I did last week! 

Doing well 5 out of 7 days is better than none, right? Overindulging on the weekend is no excuse to give up on the whole week. If anything, I think I will be just count on not doing my best on the weekends and just working extra hard Monday - Friday. It is summer, after all. Balance is key for me..

Right now, I am staying fairly focused on my 30 by 30 challenge. I did my first weigh-in for my video accountability series on YouTube and I am happy to report that I lost 1.5 lbs. last week! 

I am looking forward to recording my next weigh-in video for the series this Friday. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Spring Swim Classes - 2017

So, I knew that I was behind in some of my updates for you all but I didn't know I was a full season behind! It's summer now and I still need to update you on Piper's Spring Swim Class session!

In the Fall of 2016, we signed Piper up for her first round of swim classes. She fell in love with the pool right away! You can read more on her first round of swim classes, here: Piper's First Swim Class.

This Spring, we signed Piper up for her second round of swim classes! The classes were every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 - 6 p.m. for four weeks. We all love our local swim classes, so much! It was definitely a welcomed activity in the Spring months, when the weather wasn't always ideal to get outside and play.

Piper improved so much during this round of swim classes. She got much more confident in the water and often wanted us to let go of her so she could be on her own. We aren't quite there yet, though.

Piper started taking swim classes with her friend, Rowan, last Fall and he joined her again this Spring! While they weren't in the same group this time around, they were still in the same classes, right next to one another in the pool. Piper always looked forward to seeing her friend in the locker room after swim class was over.

Piper's second round of swim classes were so much fun! We are looking forward to signing up again in the fall, however, we can definitely wait for that because right now it's sweet summer time!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Piper's Dedication Ceremony

I am behind on so many updates for you guys, it's not even funny. I have so much I want to share and it seems like I have so little time to do so. Summer does that to us.

Today, I want to share with you one of the best things that happened in the past month and that was when we dedicated Piper at our new church at Grace. 

Piper was dedicated on May 21, 2017.

If you're wondering what a child dedication service is, I think the best way for me to explain it would be to just share some of the information outlined on Grace Church's website.
"There's no Biblical mandate to dedicate your baby or child. However, we do see examples of child dedication in the Bible. In 1 Samuel 1:27–28, a godly woman named Hannah prayed year after year for God to give her a child. God answered her prayer and she gave birth to a son, Samuel. When Samuel was born, Hannah prayed these words: "For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord." In Luke 2, we see Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple to have him dedicated as well. In both Scripture passages, the parents entrusted their child completely to God. The writings of Moses found in Deuteronomy 6:5–9 describe God's plan for how a parent should raise up a child: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." One key step in marking your desire to nurture your child in the ways of God is to dedicate him or her to God publically, through a child dedication ceremony.
Why don’t we baptize babies? People arrive at Grace from many faith traditions and varied spiritual journeys. Most Christian traditions have some ritual that responds to the spiritual magnitude of a new baby coming into the world. Some traditions baptize infants while others dedicate newborns. We believe baptism is only for those who have made a conscious decision to follow Jesus.
What are some of the responsibilities of a Christian Parent? When a parent dedicates their child they commit to doing everything they can to raise a child to love God. This includes: • Praying for the child (Job 1:5) • Setting a godly example (Proverbs 20:7) • Attempting to discipline them in a way that helps them understand how God lovingly disciplines us (Proverbs 29:15,17) • Involving the child in GraceKids. (No... there’s no scriptural support for this. But its a good idea.) • Taking the lead in the child’s spiritual development (Deuteronomy 6:5-6) • Inviting God into the process.
We can’t do this on our own. (Philippians 4:13). How will Grace help? By providing: Biblical training that helps family members of all ages know, serve, and love Jesus. • Men’s and women’s support groups that parents connect with other parents and grow spiritually. • Periodic classes to equip parents with helpful skills. • Pastoral support as needed to address specific issues." - Source /

In a nutshell, during the child dedication service, Nick and I declared, before our family and church, that we would raise Piper up to know Jesus. It was such a special occasion for our family, and we were so happy to have most of our immediate family by our side on this day.

Not pictured but present was my dad, stepmom and my siblings on that side.

During the service, alongside us were my mom, stepdad and little brother Evan. Both Piper and Evan got dedicated on that morning. It was really special for us all.

At the end, all of our family came up to pray around us. In those moments of prayer, I could feel God's love surrounding us. I couldn't be more thankful for our family, and now our new church family, too. God is good and I am so looking forward to sharing God's love with Piper in every way I can.