really?


Who, now?

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just the 4 cutest pictures ever.

"Just checking out the weather, trying to decide if me and Mom should go on a walk today."

"Oh! Mom! I didn't see you."

"Give me that darn camera!"

"I love you. Lets go outside."

And then my heart burst.
The end.
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my favorite thing about motherhood.



There are so many, so I don't know if I can even commit to saying this is my favorite...
But, I love how immediate the motherly instinct takes over.
When I was pregnant with Shepherd, I felt connected to him.
As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I went through what I'm sure is typical, and literally did not think of anything else for weeks.  I instantly felt connected with this little life I had never met.
But that pregnancy connection was nothing compared to the instant switch I felt as soon as I saw him.

As soon as I saw Shepherd and held him for the first time, I was different.  The #1 emotion I felt was "protective."  I didn't doubt myself at all, because even though I had never been around babies, what I felt with him was instinctual.  You know how whenever you hold someone else's baby you're a little nervous, like you're going to drop him or something?  Before I had him I thought it might be like that.
But it wasn't.  I just knew I was better equipped than anyone else in the world to take care of him.  Because he was mine.  God picked me to be his mom, and I felt so great about that.


Some other favorites:
When we are driving in the car so he hasn't seen me for awhile then we stop and I go back to get him and he just smiles and smiles like he is so happy to see me.

Watching him learn new things he can do.  Like touching his hand in the mirror.  Or putting his foot in his mouth.  Pure amazement.

When he wakes up from a nap and I can hear him in his crib just playing by himself.

His name.  Shepherd Nash.  I mean, really.

Little boy pajamas with feet and animals on the butt.  Is there anything cuter in this world?

Seeing my husband with him.  So sweet.

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5 months with my favorite boy

5 months.  I am just obsessed with this little boy!! I literally feel like some days I can see him growing.  Here is a look back at his 5th month.

Holding onto his favorite toy while he cat naps. 

Playing on his mat:


Daddy just thinks it is so funny when he puts his foot in his mouth!

Still a little small for this thing...we tried to stuff him in for a few minutes and his poor feet wouldn't touch.

Shepherd and I tried out being mall walkers one day since its getting too cold to walk outside.  But, I decided it wasn't fair for me to be annoyed with everyone for just browsing when I wanted to exercise so we nixed that idea.

Little boy sitting up in a big chair!



 Love this baby!
This month I'll remember as the month he did not sleep!  
But, I am happy to report this has gotten a LOT better!!  We transitioned him out of our room and into his crib and that made all the difference.  He is still waking up a 1-2 times a night but he usually nurses right back to sleep.   Knock on wood!!

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3 years.

Last week Joey and I celebrated three years of marriage.

To celebrate we enjoyed a dinner where we both got to eat at the same time, thanks to my family being in town and willing babysitters.


My absolute favorite thing about our wedding, was that we wrote our own vows.  We still went through and recited the traditional vows with the preacher, but then read aloud vows we had written specifically for each other.
I'm not going to lie, leading up to the wedding, this was very stressful!  We didn't tell each other what we had, we wanted it to be a surprise on the wedding day.  I thought and prayed a lot about what I should write in mine.  I am so glad we did this, because I fairly frequently go back to mine and check myself, and know I promised these things in a church in front of God and everyone I know, so I better hold myself accountable!
Last year on Valentine's Day, we decided that these were important and should be displayed in our home.  We decided to write them out and frame them.  I LOVE having anything memorable handwritten.  Handwriting is so personal and meaningful. Not to sound morbid, but think about people you love who have passed and how special and nostalgic it is to see something in their handwriting.
I'm getting ahead of myself, but I think these handwritten vows that our children will grow up seeing in their home will be something our children will want and fight over ;)

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Check it out!

Hey guys!
Check out the guest post I did for Jamie at Life as a Pepin!

We're talking home decor!
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my story, lately.



Very exciting things have been happening over here and I am so excited to finally be able to share!  I was waiting and waiting to have all our stuff figured out and I think we are finally settling down.  I don't usually get this personal on my blog, but I don't want to forget the things that have led me to this point in my life.  I love the feeling of knowing you are right where you are meant to be.
Here is the abbreviated version of my story, lately.

Let me start out by saying, my God is amazing.  Remember in this post I said there are 2 things in particular that I will always pray for?
Well, after 10 YEARS of praying, one of my prayers has been answered and it is such an amazing feeling to see how God worked everything out.  Throughout the last few weeks, I have had these amazing moments, when I have literally felt down into my soul this feeling of "what is happening to me right this second is completely God working."

When I was 16, I started praying that I would be able to stay home when I had kids.  Even though I was nowhere near that stage of my life, at 16 I knew it was going to be important to me, so I started praying.  I literally prayed this prayer all the time, over the next DECADE.

When we got pregnant with Shepherd, I knew I wouldn't be able to stay home with him.  We just couldn't afford it.  I had to use every last vacation and sick day to get 6 weeks of maternity leave and then I took some unpaid time after that.  When I was pregnant I really amped up my prayer for this and started praying it everyday, sometimes more than once.  I remember one time my family came into town to visit and I just cried and cried to them because I didn't want to have to go back to work.  

Even though I had no reason to think differently, for some reason in the back of my mind I just had this feeling that it was going to work out for me to stay home.  But, I guess I have too little faith, because I am a planner to my core and I needed a PLAN.  I needed to KNOW how it was going to work. 

*First moment, I got a little snippet of our plan and felt God working in my life: I was still pregnant and I was laying in bed looking at my phone.  I opened up my emails and I had received one from a friend from my hometown.  She had posted on facebook about starting an in-home daycare and since if I wasn't going to get to stay home, I really wanted him at someone's home, and preferably someone I knew, I had emailed her and asked about her keeping him.  As soon as I opened that email, and read that it would work out for her to watch Shepherd, I knew it was a little bit of a PLAN that I so desperately wanted being revealed to me.  If I couldn't be with him, then she was my next best option, because I knew her and her husband (we went to church together in my hometown) and I trusted them!
So now, I could relax a little knowing that my Plan B was in place and I was happy with it.

*Next moment I felt God working: I am still on maternity leave and my husband and I are taking Shepherd on a walk.  Joey is telling me about his work day and he tells me he has been helping this great company with some stuff for his job, and the main woman he was working with asked him if he would be interested in interviewing for a position with her company.  I just had this feeling that this might be our answer.  

Anyway, I waited and waited, and nothing was changing, so after my maternity leave, back to work I went.  

I'm very lucky that I work with my best friend, because I just sat in her office and wept.  Even though my office is literally 3 minutes away from my house, and my mom had stayed with us that week to take care of Shepherd, and I went home on my lunch break, I was just so upset to be away from him.  

The next moment I felt God working and knew it was a life changing moment: My second week back to work, I am sitting at my desk and an email pops up.  It is addressed to every person I work with and says to cancel everything you are doing and be ready for a meeting that afternoon.  Unusual, and I could feel it, something was about to change.

I work for a program that runs off grant funding.  Long story short, the meeting was called to tell us that our grant had not been renewed for the upcoming year and we had all lost our jobs.
So now, I have a new baby, my husband still has the same job, and I've lost my job.  I should be freaking out, but I really felt this was part of my plan.  
**I do not want to give the wrong impression, I in NO WAY want to come across like all of these people had to lose their jobs for God's plan in MY life.  Trust me.  I hate that so many people lost their jobs and it is never a good thing for that to happen.  All I'm saying is that it was bittersweet for me, and I am able to see the bigger picture of how this fit into my story.**
God can dream a much bigger dream than you can dream for yourself.  If I had been in charge of "writing my story" I don't think I ever would have seen me losing my job as a good thing, but at this point I really felt like it was for me.  I don't know if I would have been brave enough/trusting enough to quit my job and now I didn't have a choice.

This was in July that I found out about my job but we would still be working until the end of September.  Since we still had not heard about Joey's job opportunity, I started thinking about what I could do working from home.  I needed to find something that would replace my income.  

Next moment I feel God working in my life: At this point I was introduced to Rodan and Fields.  I feel like I am very good at picking up on things, and Rodan and Fields was something I had heard about, but didn't know a lot about.  I knew it was skin care and I knew Oprah liked it, but that was about it.  One of my facebook friends made her status about being able to retire in 3-5 years working for Rodan and Fields so I decided to message her and ask what she was talking about.  
(For those that don't know: Rodan and Fields is a new skin care line from the creators of ProActiv, specializing in Anti Aging.)
She told me that by working for R+F to market their new skin care line, I could work from home and because it is a new company, there is a huge potential to make a lot of money.  I am a researcher at heart, so I did a ton of research about Rodan and Fields, wanting to make sure this was something that would be a good fit for me.  Finally I thought, "well, if I had signed on to sell ProActiv when it came out, I would be a millionaire by now, so I want to join this!"
(I'm going to do a separate post about my thoughts on Rodan and Fields**)
So at this point, I felt more comfortable with my ability to eventually make up my part of our income, but we still hadn't heard anything about Joey's job opportunity.

Well, after a few more weeks, we got the GREAT news that Joey was hired on at this new company!!
  Joey had a tennis match and we were driving separately because I needed to leave early to meet with someone about R+F.  When we pulled up to the tennis court, and I got out of the car, Joey said, "I got the job."  I don't know why I said, "are you serious?"  I also said that when he proposed.  I guess thats my go-to when I get big news ;)  

What a great day that was!  That was the final piece of our plan.  What I had been praying for for a DECADE, had finally all worked out for us and I could see our new plan.  I literally could cry thinking about how much God has blessed us.  I know prayer changes things, I've seen it and felt it!




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who needs sleep?

I mentioned before, Shepherd has quit sleeping through the night, instead opting to 
wake up over. and over. and over again.  Not sure whats going on with this little stinker!  
We went to the library the other day so I could check out Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child and The Sleepeasy Solution.  Anything else I need to read?  By the way, we left the library about as soon as we got there because silly me forgot to tell Shepherd we are quiet at the library ;)
You can go here to see a little video we made one morning.
(I wish I was savvy enough to figure out how to add it here ;)

What you talkin bout sleep, Momma?

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favorite quotes.

I've mentioned before that I've kept a prayer journal for as long as I can remember.  I love when I've got one all filled up and get to start a new one!  If you ever want to get me a gift, get me a nice journal, I promise I will use it! :)
Something I do every time I start a new journal is to fill up the front pages with my favorite quotes.  I rewrite all of the ones from my old journal into my new one, then I consult my "quotes" on the notepad of my iPhone and add any new ones I've picked up.  Very methodical, I know.
I thought I would share:

"If we are praying, something is happening, whether you can see it or not."
-Power of a Praying Parent



I hope you live a life you're proud of.

I wish I'd done everything on Earth with you.
-The Great Gatsby movie trailer



"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
-1 Peter 4:10

You will never be asked to forgive someone as much as God has forgiven you.



"The wisdoms in the trees, not the glass windows."
-Jack Johnson, Breakdown

"Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."
-1 Peter 5:7



"You just don't know whats waiting for you around the corner."

"You deserve the best version of your life.  Only you have the power to change your life."
-Oprah

"Ask for what you want. You'd be surprised, you just might get it."
-Kris Jenner

"If someone says no, you're asking the wrong person."
-Kris Jenner


"Everybody has something to deal with, but holding a grudge is just another burden."
"If we aren't learning, we are forgetting.  If we aren't becoming smart, we are getting dull."
"People who react never sound smart.  Its the people who don't talk who sound smart, the people who don't use a lot of words."
-Donald Miller, Father Fiction

"Have your own life before you're someone else's wife."
-Beyonce

Choose your love, love your choice.



"Life is about growth and change.  When you aren't doing that it is a whisper you need to move on."
-Oprah

"God can dream a bigger dream than you can dream for yourself."
-Oprah

"I watched from a distance as you, made life your own...every sky was your own kind of blue."
-Taylor Swift, Crazier


"Life is for livin, not livin uptight."
-Jay Z

The grass is greener where you water it.

"To do life right, you have to feel like you're growing up until the day you die."
-Jane Fonda



"I never consider myself a finished product."
-Michelle Obama

(That last one sums up everything I believe and think about myself)
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fool proof dinner.

I've been cooking dinner every night, so my Pinterest is getting a workout.
Last night I tried this dish:
It turned out great!
Ingredients:
5 large tomatoes (cut into eighths)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 pound shrimp
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup Feta, crumbled
crusty bread, for serving

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F.  Place the tomatoes in a large baking dish and spoon the olive oil and garlic over them.
2. Sprinkle with 3/4 tsp each salt and pepper and toss.  Roast on top rack of oven for 20 minutes.
3. Remove baking dish from oven and stir in the shrimp, parsley and lemon juice.  Sprinkle with Feta. 
4. Return the dish to the oven until the shrimp are cooked through, 10-15 minutes.  Serve warm with the bread.

Notes:
I only used 2 very large tomatoes since it was just feeding two.  I should have adjusted the amount of olive oil/garlic to reflect that, but it still turned out ok.
Next time I will cut the tomatoes into more bite size pieces.
I used frozen shrimp that had been thawed in the fridge.
I didn't have parsley so I just used Italian seasoning.

Trust me, if you see a recipe here, it is fool proof!  Joey even rated this recipe an 8 and he is so picky, even though he doesn't think he is.

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