Thursday, April 24, 2014


Let's just blame it on my overall disappointment that the Easter holiday has shifted from a Christ centered day of celebration to a chocolate Easter bunny filled day of indulgence (even though I can't deny that we did our fair share of enjoying all things Easter including the egg hunts, Cadbury crème eggs and marshmallow peeps out the hoo-ha), but I really dropped the ball with my Easter bunny duties this weekend.  Because I mean I have to blame something for my last minute Wal-Mart Easter Basket haul, and there's no way I'm at fault here...ha.  I will get to that in a minute, but I hope you and yours had a beautiful Easter weekend.  We spent it celebrating our arisen Savior and the sacrifice He made for us so that we could live forever with Him because we are forgiven and he loves us just as we are.  (With a side of homemade meals, a yummy chocolate cake made by yours truly, and our traditional holiday routine of piling into the car and house-hopping for hours to ensure we visit all of our 10 branches of family to keep the peace.)  Not complaining though...we are very thankful for our huge families!  But it does wear a mama out.  I always need an extra weekend to recuperate after holidays!  Is that too much to ask?  And by the way I'm still recovering.

So let me just hop right to the recap.  Get it? ;)

Well, you won't find a picturesque perfectly staged Easter basket here. I didn't buy one single thing from Etsy or Land of Nod.  And nothing in the basket matches.  Shoot, I'm lucky I even found a basket stuck in the back of my Grandma's toy closet to chunk all of this Easter goodness into.  It's so shameful.  Major bloggy mom fail.  Here you have it...her baskets filled with Wal-Mart items.

Believe it or not she loved every single thing in the baskets.  Can you tell?  Especially her new underwear and tank tops that came in at a whopping $3 & $5.  And we have been coloring the bath tub with those bath crayons every day this week and having a blast.  The moral of the story don't have to spend $500 to have a happy kid on Easter morning.  So there.

 This is the Easter dress I bought her at Target, and I thought it was adorbs.  Excuse her floppy buns, egg hunting is intense.

Kollyns nanny Betty bought her this dress not knowing that I had already bought her of course she had to wear both.  She is so fancy with her holiday costume changes. ;)

And to top off a beautiful Easter weekend there's this...
a beautiful chocolate on chocolate on chocolate bundt cake that I made.  And let me just tell you, it was sinful.  And on Easter too.  Shame on me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cuteness, A Church Event, and House Progress

First of all...I adore this kid.  Can't even get over her cuteness. 

The entire weekend was so beautiful...I'm talking 78 degrees.  Sorry that I'm like that little old lady that feels the need to report the weather to everyone she comes across.  I just can't help it.  We had such a funky winter/early Spring that Spring weather that feels like spring weather will never get old to me.  I don't think.
Our church provides the best free events for our small town.  Saturday was our annual Egg Drop Eggstravaganza.  Yep, it's as cool as it sounds.  A helicopter flew over the high school football field and dropped eggs for all of the kids to hunt with their little baskets.  So freakin' cute.  Except Kollyns didn't even bring a basket because she was way more excited about petting the "aminals" and jumping on the inflatables.  The petting zoo was cute, but I've been having ridiculous dreams about miniature goats, snakes and a weird parrot every night since then.  But she really enjoyed it, so the price of a few nights of crappy dreams is well worth the memories we made there.  And there are no pictures of the petting zoo because I was too paranoid that one of her fingers would get snapped off by an animal to even think about pulling out my camera at that point. 

It was fun.  Really fun.  And did I mention it was so warm that we actually got hot?!  Righttt, I think I already covered the weather.
Sunday after church while I washed the car Kollyns decided she needed a passenger in her baby Benz, and a baby doll just wouldn't do.  She literally stuffed our sweet dog into her makeshift trunk and they cruised around the driveway until the battery died. She was having fun, not so sure about FinLee.

 I'm assuming he didn't mind too much because he never tried to escape, even when he had the chance.
And in house news...same old boring story.  Still haven't started working on ground level yet, but they dropped the blocks off and we have gravel in the basement.  So if it rains (like it's doing today) the hole won't be a mud pool.  We are set to pour the slab on Friday and begin framing either Saturday or Monday.  The weather's looking good for the next 10 days so hopefully we will make a little progress.  Because I feel like I've been posting a picture of our basement every week for the past two months...oh that's right, I have been. I promise it will get exciting sooner or later, or at least I keep telling myself that. :)


Friday, April 11, 2014

Get Fit 2014: My Five Favorite Butt Shaping Exercises

I haven't been blogging much about fitness lately!  Which is strange because I'm still the same fitness freak I've always been.  So I'm due for one of these.

Some days, for whatever just can't make it to the gym.  I get it.  It happens to the best of us. :)  But that doesn't change the fact that bikini season is right around the corner.

Here's my favorite workout secret...  You don't need a gym to get a great workout.  Only a pair of 15lb dumbbells or 10 or 5...whichever you prefer.

I kind of have a love affair with dumbbells.  I adore them.  I feel like dumbbell centered workouts are far more effective than machines because they allow you to complete a full range of motion with your exercises.  They don't restrict you, and they don't assist you.  It's you and the weights, and how productive your motions and exercises are is determined by you and you alone.  Which also means you have to be extremely careful.  Respect the dumbbells and make sure you are using correct form.

I'm also a butt fanatic.  If I were a dude, I would be a butt guy.  Is that weird?  I don't think so.  I think it's because I've always had to work really really hard on my lower body to give it shape because it's just not in my genetic code to have a super athletic body, I was born a string bean.  I'm okay with that, and if you have a genetically blessed bootay and don't have to work for don't even know how lucky you are.  And thanks to years of heavy squats, lotsa squats... I finally have decent glutes.

So without further ado I present to you my all time favorite glute/hamstring exercises that I do several sets of twice a week!

Dumbbell Squat  Stand with feet hip width apart and hold dumbbells by your sides.  Slowly bend your knees as if you are sitting in a chair (not allowing your knees to extend beyond your toes).  Squat as low as you can, keeping your chin and head lifted and your back straight.  Do not round your back. 

Bulgarian Split Squat Hold dumbbells at arms length.  Stand in a staggered stance with your front foot 2-3 feet in front of your back foot, and put the instep of your back foot on a flat bench or sturdy core.  Brace your core and squat down.  Switch sides and repeat.

Plyometric Split Jump Get in a normal lunge position with one leg forward and knee bent 90 degrees.  Jump up and land with your legs and feet in the exact opposite position.  My incredibly awkward and annoying video of this exercise can be found here

Romanian Deadlifts Stand upright with feet shoulder width apart holding dumbbells to the front, knees slightly bent.  Keeping your arms straight and knees at a slight bend, slowly bend at your hip joint (NOT YOUR WAIST) and lower the weights as far as possible without rounding your back which should remain straight.  Slowly pull yourself up using your glutes (not your back).

Dumbbell Donkey Kicks Start on all fours and place a weight in the crease of your right bent knee.  Keeping your knee bent at a 90 degree angle lift your right leg, flex your foot & pulse your foot toward the ceiling by squeezing your glute.  Switch legs and repeat.

There you have it!  If you have any questions about these exercises, email me or google the name and you should come up with some sort of photo/video demonstration.

If you have never worked out, or do not feel comfortable or familiar with proper form please refrain from these exercises until you consult a personal trainer! 

I am not a personal trainer, nor do I claim to be.  I'm just a fitness lover and long time gym rat sharing some of my favorites! 

Happy Friday! :) 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Screen Doors of Life

Yesterday Kollyns was in the best mood, filling our office with giggles and happiness.  Her daddy stopped by to pick her up and he went outside to change her car seat over from my car to his.  She was so thrilled about leaving with him that she burst into a full speed sprint from my office and around the corner towards the back deck...laughing with excitement as she ran all the way down the hallway.  Then SMACK.  She ran into the screen door leading to the deck with such force that it knocked the screen door off of its track, her off of her feet and caused her to become completely disoriented for about 3 seconds.  Her confusion quickly turned into a full on sob fest in my arms with her face nuzzled so deeply into my neck that I could feel the air come out of her nose every time she let a little sniffle.  My heart broke for her because she was so extremely happy and full of joy and out of nowhere the stupid screen stole all of that from her.  She didn't even see it coming. and I felt her pain because I too have slammed into my fair share of screen doors in my lifetime, literally and metaphorically.  And I was reminded of just how startling that feeling was as I watched her reeling from her run in with the tricky door. 

She recovered, just as any other accident prone toddler would, and probably hasn't thought twice about it since she finished crying. But as I watched her daddy's truck drive away from my office window I thought about how much that screen door represents the hard knocks of life.  We can be going along just fine with everything seemingly perfect, and something pops up and sweeps our feet right out from under us.  I've been through a few rough patches in my life (and I'm very aware there are many who have had far bigger hits than I ever have)...but I have always tried to allow them to mold me and strengthen me rather than weaken and define me.  They have also taught me to appreciate when life is good.  And life is good right now.  I have a good husband, a beautiful and perfect little girl, we are healthy, we have good jobs and we are anxiously awaiting the completion of our new home.  I never dreamed my life would be this good, but I also know that things can change in an instant.  I never know when one of those screen doors will slide in front of me and take me down and I hope it never happens...but the few times I've been knocked on my butt over the years have taught me...

to laugh at the small knocks.  How many face down plates of spaghetti, spilled cups of coffee and trips over my own feet does it take for me to realize that those things aren't a big deal?  Crap happens, and will continue to happen every now and then for all of us.  And in my case everyday for the rest of my life.  I've learned to laugh at these things.  Every single one of them.  Because in the big scheme, they don't really matter and everyone needs a good laugh.  Plus, they build character...and patience, lotsa patience. Amiright?

to slow down and enjoy life as it is instead of racing to the next moment.  The faster I am running towards something and overlooking what is good right now, the easier it will be for me to forget how blessed I am.  Good times are such a blessing, it's crazy not to savor them.

to not expect life to always go as I think it should because it never will and I can never really be prepared for what God has in store for me...good or bad. So the best I can do is take life as it comes, live in the moment, pray my heart out, and not worry about tomorrow because just like the Good Book says... tomorrow will worry about itself.

the importance of spending time in the Word.  The only thing that is promised in this life is the grace and forgiveness that comes from our Savior and the sacrifice He made for us so we could live an abundant life, because we know it doesn't end here.  I will take the time every night to strengthen my relationship and grow closer to him so I'm better prepared spiritually for everything that will come my way. 

to be ever thankful.  If I don't learn to be thankful for the good things, I won't appreciate the inner strength and character that has been built from the not so good things.  I know I don't deserve an easy life, and none of us are really promised when times are good I'm thankful to God for showering me with blessings, and when they aren't I'm thankful to God that I can draw close to Him and find my strength in His presence.

I am so very thankful.  Today and every day.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Weekend Recap

My little brother's Junior prom was this past weekend.  I know, it's crazy.  I feel so super duper old right now because I swear he was just six and now he is closing in on seventeen!  I have to say I'm the proudest big sister there ever was...not only because he's super smart.  But because Landon is a really good kid.  He has the biggest heart and the sweetest spirit, and I'm so lucky I get to call him 'Baby Brudda'.  And he adores my kid, which makes me adore him even more.
Such a dashing young man, and his girlfriend Kate was looking so beautiful too!  Excuse our squinty eyes...the sun was cray.

I can't believe he is all grown up.  So surreal.  Aren't they so cute?

And speaking of cuteness, check out my little walking Baby Gap ad...
I could eat her uppp.

In house news...we have wall forms!  They are pouring the concrete TODAY after they pump out the inches of rain that fell yesterday!  I'm telling y'all...this weather is for the dogs and has been a major disappointment for us.  But when I saw them buzzing about our lot this morning my heart almost leapt out of my chest!  Eeeek!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Down by the River

Yesterday was so beautiful that before we got into my office good Kollyns looked up at me and said "Mommy it's too pwetty outside to wurt (work)."  I agree Kollyns, I really do.  So I popped open my office window to let the pretty fresh air in since we were stuck inside.  It didn't take long for Kollyns to figure out that she fit through the window and it took even less time for me to squeeze myself out of it right behind her.  So glad that my daddy is my boss.  I still have him wrapped around my finger so I get away with things such as these. 

Besides, it's not like I could say no to this face...

Wasn't long before her little sandbox followed us out.  So much fun.  If you have a kid and you don't have one of are missing out.  It is a blast in a box.  Noooo joke.

Yes Kollyns...I feel the exact same way about this tongue-wagging weather as you do.

Where does all of this sass come from?


It was 80 degrees outside.  You didn't really think we were going home after work did you?  Heck to the no.  It was river time.

If you're a longtime lurker, you know that my daughter's middle name is River.
If not, welcome & I'm happy you're here! :)

This is what we named her after.  A river that has been a big part of our lives since our first date.  This spot is owned by Devin's parents and it has been our happy place for a long long long time.  And I'm pretty sure it's Devin's favorite place in the whole wide world. So many memories here.

Devin was having a teaching moment with Kollyns, and I was begging him to smile.  No one listens to me when I try to take pictures but one day everyone is going to be really happy that I'm an obsessive and enthusiastic picture-taker.

Are you seeing why we love it so much?  So peaceful, so perfect.  And Kollyns loves it too, so I'm feeling like a total rock star for naming her so appropriately! ;)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Weekend Recap

Sunny and 75 today, and I'm a happy girl.  They had two pumps in our basement this morning getting the water out from the rainy weekend and stripping out the forms from the footers so we will hopefully have some walls poured by next week.  Fingers crossed! 

This past weekend was gloomy & rainy but sometimes it's exactly what I need to force myself to relax.

Devin worked Friday night so I fixed this little cutie up and we ran to TJMaxx with my parents.

I walked away with a $12 white cake stand that I have been eyeing for two months, so I didn't feel guilty for buying it and a $15 sweatshirt that I've already worn 3 times in 5 days.  It is so comfy.

We stayed in our PJ's (and my new sweatshirt) all day Saturday.

After sleeping in until 11 we finger painted...(really quietly because Daddy had worked all night)

...and painted on all fours. (I don't blame was just too tempting.)

Then we painted our nails (and clearly neglected my cuticles).  Give me a break, it was a lazy day!

We watched Good Luck Charlie & Austin & Ally episodes one right after the other and ate way too many bowls of Fruit Loops until we decided it was time to go back to sleep.  We took a 2 hour nap and woke up in the mood for bowling.  So off we went...she was so excited!  I was still half asleep!

And it is a really good thing I got alot of rest on Saturday because Sunday just about killed me.  I taught Sunday School (12 4-5 year olds) and then had to wing Children's Church (15 really excited 4-6 year olds) because the workers scheduled were sick.  Unpreparedness plus wild kids is a recipe for chaos, but I survived.  There were no disasters and I made it through the hour without having a nervous breakdown...praise the Lord. 

And I should have driven straight home and taken a nap but instead I decided to brave the grocery store with Kollyns.  The grocery store turns her into a little monster by the way.  After an hour of chasing her around the entire time, and her screaming "I have to poop" so loud that the people sitting outside in their cars could've heard her for fifteen solid minutes and forgetting just about everything important on my list...I vowed to never ever ever ever take her to the grocery store again.  Ever.

By the way, she didn't really have to use the bathroom.  She is going through this 'public restroom obsessed' phase.  She has to check out every bathroom of every restaurant, store or home we visit whether she has to go or not.

I hope this phase ends soon but I'm hearing it's payback because I was the exact same way as a kid.  Sheesh.

And Sunday night I finally got around to cutting up my strawberries (after a 3 hour nap with Kollyns that we both desperately needed) and was amazed by this strawberry.  It really doesn't take much to excite me.  I love pretty food.