Monday, May 9, 2022

Mother’s Day 2022

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and it was wonderful! I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day, as well.

My day started out with tea in the garden with my oldest daughter, Piper. She also cherishes simple, peaceful moments as I do. She is a bit of an old soul in this way and I love it. These moments out in the garden together as the sun rises are some very special moments between us. We often talk about God and anything else Piper might have questions about.

After eating breakfast, we all went to church. Then, we grabbed footlong hot dogs from an ice cream stand for lunch. Nick (re)filled our 4x4 garden bed in the afternoon while I did a couple loads of laundry. Then, we all went to Piper’s friend’s birthday party at the tumble gym. The girls had a blast!

My Mother’s Day ended the same way it began - with tea in the garden. I ended the day praising God for the blessing of being the mother to my two beautiful daughters. 

What a gift it is to be a mother!

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Gracefully Grown

I've been working on some fun projects, lately! I have a lot going on with my garden planning and prepping. I have been trying to document the process along the way. I created a separate space for sharing all about my homesteading adventures. I am still trying to figure out if I want to compartmentalize in that way or combine it all with this space. For now, I'm keeping it separate. 

If you are interested in homesteading, gardening, canning, etc. you can go follow me over at @gracefully.grown on Instagram. I also wanted to share a little video I made showing how we built our raised bed garden.

If this is something you enjoy, please let me know! Learning about homesteading has been so fun for me lately. It's something I really enjoy doing!

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Grief and the Weather

Another reason why I may not be blogging as often lately is because I’ve been journaling more. Pencil to paper. It’s my favorite way to write!

I want to share what I wrote in my journal today. It was about grief and the weather.
As I sit in my chair next to the window, I see there is a light dusting of snow on the trees outside. This might be another year where we see snow clear into May. This weekend, we had a wonderful taste of Spring - well, Summer, actually. It was 80° and sunny. Today, a soft snow falls from the sky.

The abrupt change in weather is a shock to the body and mind. A familiar feeling. It reminds me of my walk through grief. Some days feel like summer, and some days snap you right back into winter.

I really don’t want to look at winter as “bad” and summer as “good” even though it may feel that way at times. They both have their purpose; their own beauty. Same goes with the “winter” and “summer” we experience in grief. 

The cold and isolating days of grief/winter are grueling. But in those cold, dark days the Lord’s warm invite into His loving arms feels more like exactly what we need. 

Likewise, in the joyful days of summer we can feel the Lord’s warm embrace as the hot sun covers our body and all His creation.

The weather today, such a stark contrast to the weather of yesterday, can remind us of one important thing: 

God’s warm embrace is waiting for us in any season. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Our Family Easter 2022

Whoops! I forgot to hit "publish" on this post. So even though it's been well over a week, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! We sure did! 

There were quite a few times where I intentionally stopped whatever I was doing to savor the fact that we are living out some of the best days of our lives with our kids. Every day with young children comes with a different mix of chaos and beauty. That goes for holidays, especially. 

On Saturday, I worked at our family’s diner in the morning and then we all went to church for an evening Easter service. I love Easter and all that it calls us to reflect on in Jesus. 

We had a nice and slow Sunday morning. The kids opened everything in their Easter baskets on and then we all decided to go to our family’s diner for breakfast. After Laney’s nap, we went to my dad’s house for lunch. It was a really nice day!

I did take some video footage over Easter weekend. I hope to have a little video montage created sometime soon! :)

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Value in the Mundane

Hello, hello! I hope this blog finds you well. Thanks for stopping by to catch up with me today.

It’s quite clear that I haven’t been blogging as much recently. The other day, I started to ask myself why that has been the case. Sure, I haven’t been feeling all that well (see previous post for more on that). But, that isn’t the only reason. Some of the reason is because I feel like I don’t want to waste anyones time with my ramblings. Time is precious and fleeting. I don’t want to waste my own time or yours. 

So, I think another reason I haven’t been blogging all that much is because I’ve been trying not to blog unless I have something really important to say. Unlike years ago, when I would update on the most mundane, little daily things happening in my life. But, I don’t know if I like that train of thinking all that much. Because it’s the little, sometimes mundane things, that I want to be able to look back on and remember.

For instance, I want to share and remember how when our 16 month old daughter, Laney, gives hugs she throw her arms behind her back and lays into you. It’s truly the sweetest thing. Or, how Piper helped me plant our tomato seeds for this years garden the other day. During which time, she shared a bunch of facts about how to grow plants and how worms are beneficial for the soil. In that moment, my heart was so proud.

It’s those little things that happen throughout our days that I want to capture and savor for years to come. So while some of my writings may seem mundane, I don’t believe it is a waste of time (at least for me) to capture it all. I hope to be sharing more of the mundane here, soon.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Welcoming April + Opening Up About My Health

Hello, and happy Friday! Better yet, happy first day of April! I ended the month of March at my lowest weight since before I was pregnant with Delaney (who is now 15 months old). Despite some frustrating health issues that come and go - I have been feeling really good at this weight.

I think I am finally ready to start talking about my elusive health issues. Ever since last Fall, I have been dealing with a rash that has become quite debilitating at times. In late September, the rash began in my underarms. It seemed almost as if it were a simple heat rash. Then it morphed into something else when I got COVID only a couple weeks later. 

When I am in a flare with this rash, it is all I can think about because it burns and itches and makes my entire body tense and prickly. My joints become stiff when I'm in a flare. It is difficult to get out of bed in the morning, it is hard to close my hand into a fist, or send a text to my husband. My fingers don't work well during a flare, which is probably just another reason why I have been less motivated to type an update for my blog. Thankfully, these issues aren't constant. They come and go throughout each month. It's been six months, now. It is hard to stay hopeful for the day these issues may end. It is hard to still not know the root cause of these issues.

I recently had bloodwork done in effort to rule out autoimmune issues. Although not definitive, the bloodwork came back good. Now, in a couple of weeks, we move on to the other types of testing. We will be working on ruling out other things next - through a mammogram and ultrasound. I'm only 34 and so it is quite early but, not too early for this sort of thing.

The hardest part of all of this has been the mental toll it has taken on me. Every day, the first thing that I do when I wake up in the morning, is ball my hand up into a fist to see if I can do it. Then, I feel the area where my rash is to see if it is inflamed. When I'm in a flare, I am defeated. When I am not in a flare, I am fearful of when I will be in a flare again. This has been my reality for many months now.

With all that said, I have been trying harder lately to not allow this health struggle to consume me. There is much to be joyful and hopeful for outside of all of this. I am incredibly blessed and my hope remains in a God that is much bigger than these issues - or any issue for that matter.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Finally Spring 2022

Happy Spring, everyone! I am so glad to welcome this new season! I have been looking forward to this particular season for quite a while now. This will be my first Spring season where I’ll be planting in my new raised beds. I’m sure I’ll be sharing more about that as the weather warms up.

I’m also hoping I’ll be sharing more blog posts with you during this season, however, I’m not going to make any promises. Life has been different in a lot of good ways lately. Life has also been more challenging in some ways, too. 

I’ve been dealing with some health issues since last Fall that flare up at times and can be quite debilitating in the moment. I’ve been on various medications and still don’t have any real good answers as to the root issue of all the symptoms I’ve been experiencing. Without sharing too much, my next step may be acquiring the help of a rheumatologist. I would love prayers for answers and healing.

Aside from that, I have so much to be joyful for in this season! My kids grew so much over the winter! They are in a completely new season of their own. Laney is talking and understanding so much more these days. She is also climbing on everything - proving to be quite the opposite of her more cautious sister. Piper is reading books and expanding on her interests. It is such a unique blessing to be the mom of a 7 year old and a 1 year old at the same time. 

Of course, this stage with our kids also comes with it’s challenges. For instance, all of our dining room chairs are bungee-strapped together underneath the table at the moment as to deter Laney from climbing up onto them and subsequently onto the table. Laney’s thrill seeking isn’t making toddlerhood easy for us at all but, we know better than to wish any of these moments away. I make sure to breath her in and squeeze her extra tight during those very few moments when she’ll lay still in our arms.

Every day seems to be going by quicker than ever before. It’s already March 21st and this is my first post of the month! I’m hoping to find a better rhythm to where I can fit blogging back into my schedule again. However, there have been other things that have needed to go up in my priority list, especially with the health issues I’ve been battling recently. Instead of sitting down at a computer to type in my downtime, I’ve been needing to be more intentional with my body - stretching, resting, etc. Despite my lack of check-ins here, I have been doing well with maintaining my weight-loss. I plan to be more intentional with losing weight and gaining health in that way this season, as well.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Weight Check + Ready for Something New

Hello, everyone! How has your month been? February is one of the hardest months for me personally. It's nearing the end of winter but, not quite the end. I am anxiously awaiting the newness of Spring while also trying not to miss the beauty of the current moment. 

I am ready to get outside and reconnect with nature. I am ready to start the garden that has been on my heart and mind since last summer. I am ready to come out of hibernation.

If you are caught up on the blog then you know I have been intentionally hibernating in a sort of way this winter. As I wrote in my blog post "Striving in January" you'll know that I haven't felt like striving toward any goals this winter. Instead, I have felt the need to reconnect with the season by slowing down.

Now, as March is only a week away, I feel a sort of excitement for what's to come! I don't know if I'd consider myself fully out of hibernation quite yet. It's been rather comfy here. However, I am starting to stretch my arms and dust myself off a bit. I am working my way out slowly; as slowly as the winter changes to Spring.

Something happened with my health in the past week that had me running to food as medicine again. I started being more intentional about eating leafy greens and taking my vitamins. I even checked the scale this morning and I'm happy to see that my little hibernation this winter did not cause much trouble there. During my time in hibernation, I was hovering between 230-235. Today, I weighed in at 229. I am excited for where I might be in a month from now if I keep treating food like medicine, 80% of the time.

At this point in my life, the number on the scale holds less weight compared to how I'm feeling. And right now, I am feeling good and ready to welcome something new.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

*NEW VIDEO* Our Family Christmas 2021

You don't have to double check the date on this post. Yes, I am finally sharing our family Christmas video in February. At least there is still snow on the ground!

I have been very slowly working on putting our family Christmas video together and I just finally finished it! Our family loves looking back on these videos. I hope you enjoy this little peak into our life, as well.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Hello, February + Seeking Beautiful Moments

I welcome February with a deep breath and happy sigh. 

The sunshine is out today. It’s helping to lower our 2ft snow piles by just a bit. This, however, will be short lived. We have a winter storm due to hit sometime tomorrow or the next day. So today I will enjoying the sunshine beaming through the windows while it lasts.

Last month, I focused on slowing down. I returned to home cooked meals, baking bread from scratch, trimming our budget and working to be fully present in the moment with our family. Our schedule in January was still quite busy, but for us it was the right kind of busy. We got a lot of in-person time with various family and friends. It was good.

This month, I want to focus more on my self care. I want to be more intentional about staying hydrated, moving my body and seeking beautiful moments of rest. I added the word beautiful in there on purpose. 

During winter it can be hard to find beauty in the moments. It’s definitely there, I just need to seek it out. Like last night when I stepped outside to let the dogs out before bed. I looked up to see the stars shining bright in the dark clear sky while holding a hot cup of tea in my hands. I took a deep breath of the cold winter air and then watched the steam float away as the breath escaped my mouth. You know, that sort of thing. There can be moments of beauty even in the most cold and dark places.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Striving in January?

I know that American culture encourages the “new year, new me” mentality. In the past, I have very much enjoyed and embraced that excuse for a fresh start. As of late though, it’s just not how I’m feeling. I may embrace this idea in the future, but not now.

I’ve found that as I’ve been trying to live more rooted in the seasons, there is a different rhythm to be found than the one promoted by our culture today. 

All month I have had this deep desire to cozy in, hunker down, create something sustaining in the kitchen for my family, etc. However, the world is trying to tell me January is not the time for what I’m feeling. The world is telling me it’s time to start over, it’s a time when all things become new, it’s a time to strive. 

If we look out our windows or go outside, does it seem as if January is really the start of something new? I think the world is off by a few months on this one. (Ahem, that's Spring.)

I don’t know where you are reading from today but here where I am there has been a big thick blanket of snow covering everything in sight for weeks now. We are in the thick of winter. I don’t feel motivated to tackle new weight loss goals or make resolutions. I feel like living quietly with the ones I love. I feel like making bread and planning out my spring garden. I feel like sitting in the comfy chair that overlooks our pond and knitting while I watch the snow fall outside. 

I don’t feel like striving in January; I feel like slowing down.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been trying to maintain my weight while hunkering down for the winter. I have not been working on losing weight but, I have been working on savoring the treasures to be found in this winter season. As the seasons begin to change I trust I will, too.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Unmotivated in January + Comfy Weight

Hello, and happy Monday! How is the month of January treating you so far? Truth be told, I started out the month feeling less than motivated. I haven't been making weight-loss a goal or priority since before the holidays. Thankfully, I've still maintained around the same weight, despite my lack of motivation. 

Over the past couple of months, I have maintained the bare minimum of healthy habits and practiced them about 50% of the time. That seems to be the magic percentage for me to maintain my weight but, I know it's time to start moving toward that 80/20 percentage again so I can start losing the rest of the weight I have to lose.

My husband and I were talking the other day and I think the reason I have trouble getting out of the 230's/220's weight range is because this is my comfy weight. He said he feels the same way for himself. Like, sure, I still have a lot of weight I could lose but this is the weight where I am still fairly comfortable in my body and so it take a little more motivation and discipline to keep moving on from here.

The way I plan to work through this struggle is to start reassessing "my why". I'm going to take some time in the next couple of days to journal the reasons I want to lose weight and live a healthier life. If you're feeling unmotivated, I'd encourage you to do the same! Let me know if it helps you at all!

Sunday, January 9, 2022

*VIDEO* Laney in ONEderland Birthday Party

Happy Sunday! I don't usually post on the weekends but if you've been coming around these parts lately then you know I haven't been posting all that much in general. This is my way of trying to get caught up so I can start blogging more regularly, again.

This little project was special and fun. Today, I'm sharing a short video from Laney's First Birthday Party!

Saturday, January 8, 2022

*VIDEO* Family Update: Summer - Fall 2021

Nothing like starting out the New Year trying to catch up on vlogs from last Summer. Oye! I had a bunch of clips from the past year that didn't make it into any videos and so I mashed them all together to share this cute family update from Summer and Fall of 2021! It is so special for us to look back and see how much the girls have grown in such a short time!

I am hoping that by sharing this video, I will be able to catch up on my other videos (Laney's Birthday and Christmas), then we can chat in real time. I have so much to catch you up on! Stay tuned.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Our Family Christmas | 2021

Hello! I started typing out this post sometime during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day when we weren't quite sure what day it was at any given moment, but we did know we were eating far too many cookies to care. 

It was a little disorienting that week because Piper was on winter break and Nick was laid off from work. While we were all out of routine we were all still enjoying the extra time with one another. 

Truth is, it's already January 7th and we are still feeling quite the same. Nick isn't back to work yet, which has been really nice but also a little disorienting as far as our routine goes. We're trying to cherish all of this extra time together while also tackling some projects we wouldn't usually get to do during the day. That's why I've been more quiet on the blog lately.

Before too much more time passes by, I want to share a little bit about our Christmas! Every Christmas has been special to us but this Christmas was uniquely special in that we had a 1 year old and a 6 year old to share it with this year. What a special time for our young family!

We had a fairly isolated Christmas last year when we were navigating the season with a newborn in the pandemic. This year, we felt much more safe to spend our time with family as we had just gotten over COVID a couple of months ago.

It was so nice to have an almost normal Christmas with our family this year! We made sure to do our annual traditions like baking cookies and eating popcorn while driving around looking at Christmas lights! 

On Christmas Eve, Piper went on a surprise shopping trip with her Aunt Fancy. They went to Build-a-Bear and had a special time with one another before coming back and having lunch with us all. Usually, we'd go to church on Christmas Eve but Delaney was in desperate need for a nap right when it was time to leave and so we settled for church at home for the sake of having a happy one year old at the family festivities later on.

Later on Christmas Eve, we went to Nina and Papa's for dinner and to exchange gifts. It was a relaxing and fun time visiting with everyone!

We got home at a decent time that night, just in time to set out cookies, milk and homemade reindeer treats. For those wondering, Piper's reindeer treat recipe is 1/2 dried oatmeal, 1/2 un-popped corn, with a dash of red sprinkles.

Christmas morning was as special as ever. Piper woke us up at 6am with that Christmas day kind of excitement! We went downstairs to find that Santa came! Piper got some time with just myself and Nick while Delaney slept in a bit. Delaney woke up just as soon as Piper was done opening up her gifts, and then it was Delaney's turn!

After opening gifts, we went to my mom's house for breakfast. My grandparents were there! It was nice to visit and exchange gifts with everyone. 

After breakfast, we came home so Delaney could nap and Piper played with her new toys. We drove out to my dad's for a late lunch and visited with everyone over there.

After visiting with my dad's side of the family, we went home for the rest of the evening and that is when Christmas festivities came to an end for us!

Here are some pictures from our Christmas!

This Christmas was really special and for as much running around as we did, we were so grateful to be able to spend time with our family this Christmas!

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year 2022 + Focus Word: Growth

A new year brings new mercies and new hope.

Today is the first day in the new year. I’ve spent a good majority of my day meditating on what I might choose as my resolution for the new year. In between the quiet hustle in the kitchen this morning, between prepping pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes for dinner and, while prepping fresh fruits/vegetables for our fridge; I was thinking about what I might choose as my focus word for 2022.

I’ve decided on the word Growth for this new year.

I believe growth is always a goal tucked deep within our hearts for ourselves and our loved ones. Growth in myself and in my family will be done in various ways this year. 

Our family is excited to grow a more intentional garden this year! A garden that will grow not only food for our bellies, but will hopefully grow us in patience and in other ways. We’ve been planning and preparing for this garden in various ways for various months. I started documenting this fun process on a new Instagram page called Gracefully Grown: 

Most importantly, I hope for our family to grow closer to God in 2022. This past year was spent a little further removed from church than in previous years. While church doesn’t equal faith for us, it does support it. I hope we will grow in our faith through a deeper involvement in our church community and in our relationship with God this year.