Pretty Things

Pretty things make me happy.  Pretty books, pretty flowers, pretty candles, pretty blankets.  You get the point.  And during this time of year when things may not be the prettiest outside, having some beautiful things inside is important to me.  Most of the time, I think pretty things can be found for nothing or relatively inexpensive.  Other times, I allow myself to spend some extra cash for something I really, really love.

I usually decide if something is worth the extra money by how much I will use it.  How long will this thing be in my life?  How much will I see it?  How often will I pick it up and hold it in my hands or sit on it or lay on it? These questions help guide me when making big and small purchases.

For example, I will wait, save, and spend extra money on a rug I really love because we will walk, sit, and snuggle on that thing.  I try not to spend a lot on plants (that I will potentially kill), prints that I will grow tired of, throws that I switch out depending on the seasons, or candles that I will burn in a week (unless, of course, they are Wax Buffalo).

Today I am sharing some pretty things that made my week 38 #canyoubelieveit of being pregnant a bit sunnier.

First is a big, okay HUGE splurge for me.  Since I stay home with my littles, I love having a planner where I can write my to-do list in for each day as well as keep track of appointments, playdates, and other important calendar-y things. Last year I used two different systems.  I picked up a cheap planner from Target in early January and eventually abandoned it because it didn't serve my purposes.  I then used a plain notebook, but that didn't meet my needs either. In November, I went back to the planner (which I hated), but thought I could make work the rest of the year.

This year, I splurged.  I used some of my birthday money to buy this beautiful Emily Ley planner and I am so very glad I did.  Because it's beautiful. Because it's simple.  Because it meets my needs.  And because this company is ran by an amazing woman and momma.  I couldn't be more happy with my choice to splurge on this and I can honestly say I use it and love it every. single. day.

In 2017 I have read four books.  This one, by far, is my favorite.  Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner is one of those books I didn't want to end.  I was trying to savor every word and enjoy every story.  I was eating up all the good nuggets and feeling grateful for a wife and momma to be open and vulnerable enough to tell her story.  This is a great read for those of us who want to take the slower path in life and offers wisdom in how to go about that without furiously chasing it.  AND isn't the cover just perfect?  It looks great on a bookshelf.  All the girls out there...it's a good one.

Last is a fun find I picked up while shopping in December with my dear friend, Paige.  We found this beautiful, Christian boutique in Des Moines and they had the perfect little 'sale' room.  This candle looked lonely and I knew just the place for it on my kitchen counter.  The blue/green glass goes with the colors in my kitchen and reminds me of the crystal clear ocean that I miss desperately as I look outside at the cold (yet beautiful) snow that has taken over the Trail. This candle didn't cost a lot, but is pretty and reminds me of the beauty that I can find in my daydreams.

Sometimes pretty things can cost a lot or just be a fun find from a sale rack. I enjoy curating pretty things in a home that make me happy and make the day just a bit sunnier.  I hope you have a Sunny Saturday wherever you may be today!



Addition = Complete

Guys, our addition is (mostly) complete.  There are a few odds and ends that need to be finished up, but it is livable and we are enjoying the space and the lack of everyday construction (and dust) down the hall.  We are not done moving things around or putting things where we want them, but I guess this pregnancy will help with that.  I am in full blown nesting mode.  Like dangerously nesting. The combination of recently reading books on minimalism and being nine months pregnant has inspired me to go through every single thing we own and declutter, organize, and get everything in it's place before Baby Boy arrives. #poorkevin  

Speaking of Kevin, he has been hard at work putting together furniture and doing anything and everything on his to-do list written by yours truly.  He really is the man of my dreams.

We have decided on furniture arrangements for our room and the baby's room, and just picked up a chaise lounge for a wall in our bedroom.  Kevin is super excited about this space.  He thinks he will be plopping down on that lounger every night to read.  We will see how that plays out...

We still have a small bedroom we are unsure what we are going to do with for the time being.  I am thinking office or homeschool room or spare bedroom?  I really have no idea.  I'm not going to rush into it because I'm sure it's purpose will change over time and I will discover how I really want to use it one of these days.  As of today, there is a desk, bookshelf, and dresser lining it's walls and the closet is currently housing tubs of clothes for Baby Boy. Luke and Lily have discovered it's the perfect room to read their Bibles and push their strollers.

My favorite part about the addition being complete is all four of us hanging out in our bed and reading books.  This happens almost on a nightly basis and the kids think it is the coolest.  And if I'm being honest, so do Kevin and I.

We are thankful and joyful the remodel was completed in plenty of time before our newest addition arrives.  Now, we just wait to fill the rooms and space with one more babe to love!


Good Friends and Goods for Baby Boy

This week was so so good.  We spent lots of time at home, had a glorious playdate where all the kids played together like something in the movies, and my sweet friends held a little baby shower for me.  This week was slow and everyday and filled my cup.

On this Sunny Saturday we are in the city this morning and then home all afternoon with nothing on the agenda.  We have under three weeks until baby boy is set to arrive and we are soaking up this time together before baby makes five.  We are anxious for him to come, but embracing the opportunity to love on Luke and Lily as much as possible.

This week I am sharing, you guessed it, more for Baby Boy.  There is just so much to gather and love for new babies and I can't help but share.  All of the items are from the shower (my girls know me so well).

THIS blanket.  It's everything.  Soft.  Beautiful.  Well made.  Did I mention beautiful?  Aesthetically I just can't get enough of it.  It's from Oliver and Lucy, a shop based in Lincoln, Nebraska that makes gorgeous blankets, teething rings, and burp cloths.  I can't wait to snuggle our little guy in this!

One can't have enough blankets when caring for a newborn.  These muslin swaddling blankets are modern and I just can't stop looking at them.  It is a different look from normal elephants or flowers that usually adorn this super soft baby essential.  Nate Berkus just came out with a baby line for Target and it is perfect.

Last are these gorgeous cards.  This is my favorite part of our girlfriend/Cooking Club baby showers.  We all write a letter to the mom-to-be with an 'open when' statement on the outside.  For example, one could write a letter to 'open when you have been up all night' or 'open when you feel like you're not enough' or 'open when everyone needs your attention at the same time' (that's a second or third child one).  These cards are life giving and it's fun and special to read letters from friends when in the beginning of caring for a new baby.  Please, please try it at the next baby shower you host. The mom-to-be will thank you!

Even though I felt silly for having a baby shower for baby #3, my friends insisted and made me feel nothing but loved.  It was a great night to laugh and eat and be together.  My only regret is that I didn't take one single picture. Not one.  I think I was enjoying myself too much.

I hope you have a Sunny Saturday wherever you may be today!


Everyday a Look

Lily looked at me the other day and I promise she looked different than every other day I have looked at her.  She looked more like her grandma, less like the baby face I have imprinted in my mind for all eternity.  I literally had to stop and take it in and pull her face to mine to get a better look.  Yes, she looks different.  More like a toddler.  Less like an infant.  More like her grandma.  Less like, well, what she used to look like.  More like a girl who is changing and growing everyday.  Less like the baby I want to be able to hold in my arms forever.

Time is ticking...all the time.  It passes us while we shower, make dinner, gaze out the window as the snow falls.  It is fleeting and finite and always less.  The time with my babies doesn't seem to be enough and yet at times it's too much.  

But, as I looked at my little girl, maybe my only little girl, I couldn't help but be astounded by the amount of growing up she has done in such a short amount of time.  I am simply in awe of the changes that have taken place in the seconds, minutes, hours, and days that make up her life.  I honestly can't remember what she looked like on day 89 of her life or on day 467.  Isn't that funny how we forget so quickly? 

So, from today forward I am going to try and look, really look, at Luke and Lily every single day.  Not glance, not talk to them while doing the dishes or looking at my phone.  No.  I am going to look into their sweet faces everyday because tomorrow they will be a day older and could potentially look a whole lot different than today.  Time does that...it changes us and I don't want to miss out on a day of enjoying and savoring the faces of the ones I call mine.


Embracing Winter

About five years ago I used to be a June, July, and August girl.  Those were my most prized and favorite months of the year.  Mostly because I was teaching, but also because I loved the heat, sunshine, and glorious feeling of freedom that seems to come with summertime.

These days I am in love with fall and winter.  The cooler nights in September sitting around a bonfire, the crunchy leaves under my rain boots in October, the warm meals lit by candlelight in November, and the one thousand reasons to stay inside in December and gaze at twinkling lights.  Then comes January and a lot of people lose a bit of steam and are begging for spring to show it's face. Trust me, I used to be there and couldn't wait for warmer weather and a chance to spend more time outside.

But, this January and the past few Januarys I have been trying to embrace the long, cold haul of the winter months post-Christmas.  It's a time to reset, refocus, and recharge for the spring and summer months that are sure to come. Spring and summer on the farm mean quite a bit more work and maintenance, so I welcome the rest and relaxation of these cold days inside.

This year we will be welcoming a new baby in February and I am going to relish in the time to sit and snuggle and love on this new one while the temps are still low outside and there is nothing to be missed by sitting with my feet up and my heart full.  With two other babes to love and care for, I might be dreaming a bit, but I know there will be many moments (mostly during nap time) when it's just me and my third baby snuggled up together.  And I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that.

There are about three and a half weeks until baby boy is set to arrive and I have a few things I want to do to embrace winter with my littles and reset for this new season that is to come.

Pajamas and Bubble Baths

In the summertime we are dressed (almost) everyday by 9:00 a.m.  This may seem early or late to some of you, but this was our norm this past spring and summer.  This winter I have given myself permission to let pajamas be okay all day long.  There are many days we don't leave the house and what better way to spend a day at home than in pajamas.  We have also started implementing mid-day bubbles baths.  I love routine by nature and we usually do bath time at night, but sometimes the day needs to be broken up a bit and a mid-day bubble bath keeps my littles giggling and happy for about 30 minutes.

Meal Planning

You can ask Kevin about my meal planning skills this pregnancy.  They have been, um, less than desirable.  It seems there were always about thirty-eight other things on my to-do list and I always always pushed meals to the bottom of it.  Since I am in full blown nesting mode, I have been trying to be better about planning out meals a week in advance, grocery shopping (or having Hy-Vee do it for me), and sticking to the plan all week long.  I am also trying to get some meals in the freezer for when baby boy comes.  Here are some favorites and some I want to try soon.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Husband's Delight Freezer Casserole

Grown Up Tuna Noodle Casserole

Chicken Noodle Casserole

Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Read, Read, Read

I have so many books on my book list right now and I want to read them all. Winter is the perfect time to cuddle up under a blanket with some hot cocoa and a good book.  I am trying to do as much of this as possible before I have a little less time on my hands.  Some titles I am swooning over right now:

Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom

Purge and Organize

Recently I read two minimalist books.  This is a topic I love reading about, even if minimalism looks a lot different to me than it does others.  Living on a big piece of land has it's advantages, but being close to a Target or coffee shop or other conveniences isn't one of them.  So, minimalism looks different for us, as I stock up on items and keep things on hand to make or create the feeling of a coffee shop or dinner in the city.  However, I do love purging things that we no longer need or use and organizing spaces that need a little TLC.  With the addition being finished, it has been the perfect time to go through things that have been in bins, tubs, or stored in cupboards since we moved in.  I still have a bit to do and am totally in love with the feeling of piling unused-no-longer-loved items into a box to donate.


No, I am not talking about not eating.  I'm nine months pregnant and can hardly make it twenty minutes without putting something in my mouth.  I'm talking about a season of less.  The past week I have been taking a step back and evaluating if I really need that Starbucks or if I need to buy those boots I really want with my birthday money or if I need to put thirteen things on the calendar next week, just because we have some free time.  I am trying to embrace less of everything.  I think what I will find is that I actually have more...more money, more time with the ones I love, and more opportunities to sit and read and think and pray.

Me Time

One of the biggest ways I can fill my bucket and recharge is having some quiet time alone.  I have been trying to create a space and time for this every single day, which is no easy task.  Whether it's in the morning before the kids wake, at nap time, or getting a babysitter and going to town to sit at Starbucks, I am trying to make this a priority.  Since starting this, I feel like I have been a better mom, wife, and friend, and have more patience by the time dinner hour rolls around.  This will be a stretch when baby boy is here, but there are seasons for everything.

As an ice storm approaches on the Trail and everyone stocks up on groceries and snuggles inside to watch Netflix and read books, I am thankful for this slow, easy time at home.  The winter months may be brutal outside, but they sure give ample opportunity for all kinds of good things inside.  How will you embrace winter this year?


Goodies for Baby Boy

It's another Sunny Saturday!  I hope it's sunny and beautiful and warm where you are today.  We are soaking up one of those three adjectives and beautiful is it.  Our fridge is fixed after living without it for a few days this week and that piece of stainless steel in the corner of the kitchen with it's cool insides is one of the most beautiful things my eyes have laid eyes on in awhile.

I have been in hyper nesting mode all week and have been gathering and adoring all the sweet items I have picked up for Baby Boy.  His room is almost complete and I am loving having time to organize and clean and wash and put everything in it's place.  (Thank you to Bob our builder for getting done a month early, not that he would ever, ever read this.)

If you are in the Omaha or Lincoln, Nebraska area and have littles, you should know about Oh So Vera. They are a small clothing company that specializes in baby and toddler clothing that is fashionable and functional...and also ridiculously soft.  Lily wore one of their twirl dresses for Christmas and I couldn't resist ordering these dapper leggings for Baby Boy to wear after he makes his arrival.  They are monumentally soft and will go with so many different tops.  I just love them.

Another one of my favorite things are these onesies from H&M.  They are soft and simple and, again, will go with almost any pair of pants I want to throw on with them.  I will probably be heading back there for more when our sweet boy grows out of these.

After two babies, I finally learned my lesson about hanging picture frames above the crib.  I have fought the urge to hang anything above the crib because eventually that sweet, helpless baby will grow into a toddler who will try and tear those beautifully hung frames off the wall.  My friend, Annie, had the smart idea of putting decals on the wall in her baby boy's room and so, of course, I totally copied her. These wall decals are so easy, I literally hung them in ten minutes.  I have plenty left over, so I am debating doing another wall as well.  I am all about simple and easy.

This swaddle and hat is the sweetest from Lynn and Liv Swaddle.  It's buttery soft and I know our little man is going to look super handsome all wrapped snug in this blanket.  And if he is anything like our other children, he will outgrow his hat with his large head before anything else.  #bigheadbigbrains

I pray your Saturday is filled with lots of snuggles under warm blankets and Netflix on repeat.  Kevin and I are still mourning the end of college football season a bit.  Anyone have any good Netflix recommendations?  Have a Sunny Saturday wherever you may be today!


Winter Pick-Me-Up

This past week has probably been one of my favorites in awhile.  First, because it was my birthday yesterday and second, because our addition is finally complete!  They finished up laying carpet, doing some odds and ends, and cleaning and we are going to slowly start moving things over to our new space. It is the absolute BEST birthday present!

Today I'm sharing a few things that made my week a bit extra special, although getting the addition done is at the top of my list.

First up is this book, All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth.  It is a memoir and I just can't put it down.  It's the story of a woman (Edie) growing up incredibly poor in the Appalachian south and climbing her way out of poverty to be a doctor, but never feels whole until she is able to really find her eternal Father.  It is heartbreaking, yet full of grace and redemption and love.  If you're a woman and love memoirs, I highly recommend this book.

Who has vibrant orange lilies in January?  I do!  My sweet in-laws brought these over when we had dinner this week for my birthday and I was so happy to see some fresh flowers.  We haven't had them in our home in awhile and it's amazing what some real, cut, bright beautiful flowers can do for my mood when it's cold and dreary outside.  They are sitting atop my counter beaming with beauty.  If you need a pick-me-up...boost your countertop and your mood with some fresh blooms, even in the middle of winter.

In my post about 2017 I talked about my quiet mornings.  I have been sipping decaf coffee and hot cocoa out of this mug all week and I'm pretty sure it makes it taste better.  A pretty mug always helps and this one from a special friend makes it even sweeter.  

This Wax Buffalo peppermint candle has been keeping my kitchen smelling yummy and fresh for the past few weeks.  It is subtle and perfect for someone who loves peppermint as much as I do.  As far as I know, they are sold out, but check her site soon for more delicious scents for winter.

Today I am spending the day getting pampered a bit with some spa time my adorable husband gifted me and then we are off for a date tonight to celebrate my birthday.  My mom is here and I am so looking forward to some time with my man.  Hope you all have a Sunny Saturday!


Three Things

A New Year always sparks in me a desire to be more intentional with my time, my thoughts, and my home.  It's the season of starting anew and I love the opportunity to ponder what I want this new year to look like for me and my family.

In years past I have been a new year's resolution type of girl.  I enjoyed writing my goals down and posting them somewhere for all to see.  These days I'm more of a think about, talk about, and implement kind of girl.  I am not going to write anything down this year.  I'm not going to hold myself accountable to eat a fruit and a vegetable everyday.  (Although I probably should.)  But, I am going to try and think about how I want myself and my family to live differently this year and these are the three things that have been on my mind and heart.

As my belly balloons, I am awakened earlier and earlier each morning.  This baby boy surely loves to keep his momma awake!  He usually is moving around about 5:30 or 6, just a few hours after I have gotten up to use the bathroom for the second or third time during the night.  I roll over and dream about going back to sleep (and sometimes I do), but mostly I pull my large self out of bed and head upstairs for some reading and quiet time with God and myself. Guys, this time has been my saving grace during this busy season of Christmas and our renovation.  It allows me a slow start to the day without my babes starting the day for me.  I love it.  I know it won't last forever with a new baby coming in just over a month, but I am enjoying this time while I can and want to remember that a quiet hour in the morning might just be what I need to stay sane in the future with three littles at home.

I just read the book The More of Less and it is so so good.  Books like this I could devour everyday.  Every new year I am ready to purge and with my nesting hitting it's peak, I might be a little happy to get rid of anything and everything that we don't need or want or that has just been taking up space in our home for far too long.  This book is not a minimalist book like others, but gives a practical, not weird approach and ties in Jesus as being the first minimalist.  It's so good and as I go through my house and decide what to keep and donate, it has made it easier to let go of the things that we really don't need and could benefit others.  As our renovation wraps up, I want to be intentional about the things we bring into our new spaces and only choose things we need or make us happy.  My goal is to not just fill spaces!

Kevin and I sat down yesterday and chatted about what we want this new year to look like for our family.  It's hard because we really don't know what it's going to look like with the coming of a new baby, but we wanted to discuss how we could help each other through this next season.  One thing we agreed was important was sitting down each week to connect and go over each other's calendars.  It seems our calendars get fuller and fuller and I need to work on protecting our family time as much as possible, as quality time is Kevin's love language and, what can I say, we are both homebodies.  Communication is so important in a marriage and at times this year we didn't communicate something as simple as a dinner with friends or the dates family members would to be in town.  It made for some disappointing conversations, so we are going to try and be better about knowing what each other's weeks looks like with a little Sunday afternoon sit down.

I am looking forward to another year and what 2017 will bring...a renovation complete, a new baby boy to bring home, a family to nurture and love, and so many unknown surprises that lie ahead.  Cheers (with sparkling apple juice) to the new year!

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