.This Blog.

I will be the first to admit this blog has been forgotten.

My husband and I were blessed with conceiving a child and giving birth to that precious life, our beautiful daughter Penelope, and life changed..

Our lives have changed in every way possible and for the better. God gave Adam and I the desire to become parents years before we met and then gave us the greatest privilege and gift with Penny.

This blog used to be a large source of joy and affirmation in my life but now things have changed. Now I am a mother and my heart has been filled with purpose, love, adoration, gratitude, and confidence. I know who I am and know who the Lord is continually molding me to be. It's the best wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend I can be to glorify Him.

For the past few months I have been devoted to my baby, my husband, and my Savior. We have all bonded in ways I did not know were possible. I have experienced love I did not know existed. I have found the absolute light in my life and it is Penny. Adam shared the other night as we were talking this statement that has made my heart burst--He said, "Penny is filled with joy."

She is.

And so am I.

This blog will still be up and running. There will be more posts. Some deep sharing about my life and faith, some showcasing a new craft or room in my home, and some simply a picture of my darling girl. This blog will have posts out of order, will have random topics, will have weeks and months pass with nothing new, will be messy at times..but it will be here.

This blog will be here for me to look back and reflect on. To remember what God was teaching me in the different chapters of life. To remind me of my creative juices and to act upon them. And to remember you.

I appreciate you for checking in and reading what I have had to say over the years.

Thank you for taking the time to get to know me through this blog. Thank you for giving me the encouragement I needed in the years past. Thank you for sharing your life with me.

This blog will remain and will always be about the little things that bring smiles..after all, it's the little things that are the biggest things in life.


.Geometric Christmas Wreath.

I'm back with another post! 

After sharing my Christmas decorations with you yesterday (in February--I know), I was pretty surprised over a few emails I received. Well, that is if you can count 3 as a few :) Thank you for reading my posts and taking the time to write me. I will slowly be getting back to blogging and sharing my life as a new mommy with you all as well as the updates we have completed on our home. The emails asked for a tutorial on how to make the wreaths that were pictured. Unfortunately, I did not take step by step photos and was not planning on writing a full tutorial..HOWEVER..this craft was easy enough to quickly jot down the process for those special 'few' who asked! 

Geometric Christmas Wreath
I started this craft by purchasing 2, 8 inch foam wreaths from Joanns. I then chose small ornaments and glittery berries (that were part of the winter/Christmas greenery section) in varied sizes and colors of my choice. After my supplies were bought, I spread everything out at home.

Here is a photo I posted on my personal instagram:
Before I began assembling my wreaths, I used wire cutters to snip the berries off of the greenery. The glitter was a little too messy for my liking but the sizes and colors were spot on for the design I had in mind. Next, I detached the metal ornament tops. This left me with lots and lots of Christmas balls to hot glue onto the foam wreaths.

I started with the larger Christmas ornaments and actually used the shape of their top (where the metal top and hooks attach onto) by sticking them into the foam. This allowed me to arrange the ornaments before committing them into place with hot glue. Once my ornaments were laid out, I began hot gluing. I glued the Christmas ornaments first then glued the smaller berries to fill in gaps where the foam wreath was showing. 
This craft was not difficult to complete but it was time consuming. It took me 2 nights to complete the wreaths working about 2-3 hours each night. This does include breaking for snacks and a nursing session with my baby girl so the time can be cut down if you are able to work straight through.

To display the wreaths, I attached 3M hooks upside down to the backs of the white frames and hung the wreaths with red ribbon. I swapped out the art inside the frames with simple silver wrapping paper to ensure the wreaths would pop and be the focal point. 
Overall, this craft was affordable and pretty straight forward to make. I love being able to customize a craft to fit a certain room. Here is a look at the wreaths with the rest of the Christmas decorations: 
 To see more of our living room at Christmas, click here.

Thanks for reading and happy crafting!


.Our House at Christmas.

Valentine's Day is almost here which means it is my last chance to FINALLY share my Christmas decor with you! 

(As I shrug my shoulders and roll my eyes..)

The goal was to have my house decorated, pictures taken, and post published before Christmas when everyone was in the festive mood..then reality hit. Life with my little babe suddenly took my "spare" time away and stole my attention and heart from other hobbies and necessary house cleaning. I found myself wanting to simply play with Penny, make her laugh, tickle her tiny feet, and hold her while she slept instead of doing anything else. I still have a desire to do other things but the truth is..

..my kid rocks!

She is so much fun right now and I am soaking her in every single day. 

Now back to the awkward Christmas in February post!

Our decorations only made it into the living room and only one Christmas craft was completed this year. You know what?--I'm actually quite proud of that small victory. Adam and I hosted my family this year and the morning before they arrived (while the house was actually clean!) I was able to snap a few pictures to capture our house at Christmas. 

Enjoy our simple, modern decor and pretend it's mid December ;) 
My sister-in-law Kim crocheted this beautiful blanket for me as my Christmas gift last year. It is as soft and warm as it is lovely! The sunburst pattern pairs well with the mirror I made a few years ago.
Pictured above are the new Christmas wreaths I crafted this year next to my felt trees from years past.

Target stopped selling these stockings so poor little Penny does not have a matching one. I'll have to find new ones for next year.
 No fuss wrapping this year, I was just thankful to get all the gifts finished in time!
 Christmas lights are pure magic.

When Adam and I lived in our rented duplex, our Christmas decorations were very rustic. Our new house is brighter and more colorful so our Christmas decor matches those fun, playful qualities. The white trees and couch pillows are from Ikea. The stockings, stocking holders, snowflake pillows, and the majority of ornaments are from Target. The felt trees and wreaths were crafted by me. The blanket was made by my sister-in-law. The deer were purchased at an antique store and spray painted white.

Thanks for reading and getting back into the holiday spirit for one very overdue post :) 
I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


.This is 27.

I turned 27 this week.

Yes, 27. 

My life is not perfect. There is pain, frustration, and even sadness. The good news? My life is so much more. It is a gift from our Heavenly Father. It is filled with people I love and who love me. There is laughter, joy, and silliness. There are mistakes waiting to be made. There is forgiveness. My life feels like a mess at times and you know what? 

It is. 

On my birthday this year I captured real, raw photos of what 27 looks like. No staging or editing, just real life. 

My 27 looks like this..
Dirty dishes waiting to be washed.
Plants quietly waiting to be watered.
Shoes scattered on the floor waiting to be put away.
Used baby rags and blankets waiting to be washed and fluffed.
The vacuum eagerly waiting to suck.
Laundry baskets filled with miscellaneous items waiting to be sorted.
The nursery is waiting, just waiting, for love and attention.
Dirty clothes piles waiting to smell good again.
Unfinished house projects waiting to be remembered.
Beds waiting to be made.
Wet shoulders waiting to dry.
Real clothes and bra waiting to be worn.
And me?

Well I am not waiting for anything. 

I am choosing to soak in these days rather than waiting for them to pass. I am choosing to see the mess and to embrace it. To live it up in my high school hoodie and husband's pajama pants.

My life at 27 is beautiful. 

I see dirty dishes and feel grateful for a husband who works 2 jobs to provide for our family.
I see withered plants in need of water and remember I, too, need nourishment. Nourishment from God's word.
I see scattered shoes and smile. I think of when Penny's shoes will join the pile and where they will lead her. I am reminded to pray for her. I pray she walks with the Lord like her daddy and I do.
I see dirty receiving blankets and stop to smell them. To smell my baby girl, spit up and all, and fall more in love with her.
I see the vacuum and see our dog Colden. I think about his little life and how it has changed and remember to show him extra attention by pampering him with a good brushing.
I see laundry baskets filled with random things and see my husband in his adorable decluttering methods.
I see Penny's nursery and am flooded with chills. I think about all the memories we will share together through that very door. All the bedtime stories, snuggles, sick nights, and prayers. 
I see piles of dirty laundry and am thankful. Thankful for the clothes themselves and for wash machines.
I see our unmade bed and feel the warmth and comfort it brings. It reminds me to seek after our Heavenly Father for comfort and not to rely only on earthly things.
I see and feel my wet shoulder from Penny and chuckle. My greatest dream has come true; I am a mother. A mother to a 4.5 month baby girl who is full of life, laughter, and slobber. I thank God everyday for the miracle of her life.
I see my real bra neglected on the floor and think of the day I stop nursing. I feel fortunate for the gift of breastfeeding and am truly saddened to think of it ending. I am still in awe of God's creation that He designed my body and Penny's body to work together. For me to give her everything she needs to grow strong and healthy. It is amazing.

And then..

I see myself.
There are imperfections but the truth is I see beauty. I feel more beautiful now than ever before.

I am a wife and a mother.

This is my 27.


.Expectation vs. Reality: Life with a Newborn.

Life as a new mommy has been the source of great joy and love as well as a reality check that I am not wonder woman--shocker, I know. Let's just say God has been gracious to my arrogance..to my oh so presumptuous self. Below are expectations I had prior to Penny's arrival along with our real life experiences. I'll let you figure out which is which..

Penelope's nursery will be finished before her arrival with her closet and dresser fully stocked and ready to go.
Oh this makes me sad. The nursery was not touched, clothes were not even sorted or washed. Friends, I was so sick while pregnant it made me act like somebody else.  I am thankful for great friends and family who provided clean hand me downs for our baby girl to wear in the early days and thankful for my mother who helped gather the newborn clothes and washed them all for me. Someday her nursery will be complete..as soon as I can make up my mind!

After giving birth, I will feel like myself again. 
Pregnancy treated my body in the worst ways possible so I assumed after having Penny my body would celebrate instantly..it did not. More thoughts on this later..

I will love my daughter the moment my eyes first see her.
I love loving people but love for my daughter?..I didn't know I was capable of this kind of love. I have no words for it..it is unlike any other. I am extremely blessed to experience this and the most astonishing thing is my love for Penny only grows with each waking day. It's amazing and beautiful and makes me wonder how much my Heavenly Father must love me..it gives me chills every time.

While in the hospital and the first few days at home all visitors are welcomed! The more the merrier!
Unfortunately, my feelings on this changed dramatically. While I am incredibly honored so many people wanted to share in our excitement and meet our little girl, we planned too many visits those first few weeks. Our house was filled with company starting from the day we got home from the hospital. While Penelope was being passed around and had her picture taken with everyone I felt strange. I wanted her to be in my arms..with me..to bond more. I wanted to get to know her in private. I was jealous other people were holding her and not me. It is hard having company after giving birth. You are exhausted and hurting, along with a million other things, and yet you have company so there is this 'I must host' feeling inside. I felt obligated to smile even when I didn't truly feel it and to serve others when I really didn't want to. Looking back I think it was the lack of sleep and added hormones but for baby number two I think we will be more relaxed with visits and just enjoy our family of four first.

Everyone said I would not sleep but really..no sleep at all? I think I'll be just fine.
Um..they were right. Zero, zilch, nada! I am flabbergasted at the lack of actual sleep that took place in the first months, heck, and even now! Penny had her day and night confused and kept both Adam and I awake at night. Those first weeks were a difficult but joyous transition. Penny was eating every 2 hours and hardly sleeping in between feedings, instead she liked to work out her lungs. In case you were wondering..her lungs are in great shape!

Breastfeeding will be challenging and may not even work for us- And I'm okay with that.
I read blog posts and heard stories from loved ones about breastfeeding while I was pregnant. The majority of these stories and experiences all came to the same conclusion: 'It didn't work for us.' Well, I say this with a heart full of gratitude, breastfeeding has just clicked between Penny and I. More on this later..

The first few days may be stressful but I'll be fine.
I was fine. I was tired. I was happy. But I was stressed. It amazes me how being sleep deprived takes away one's level headedness and ability to remain calm. Adam and I now laugh at who we became at 2am, 3am, 4am, and so on in those first few weeks. One's logic is out the window when there is no sleep involved. Our decision making and lack thereof was comical..not at the time of course, but now looking back it is. Our elevated stress levels were caused by this lack of sleep and inability to reason. Penny's constant lung work out also was the leading factor of this stress. She is so worth it though..

With all of my experience with babies and children, crying will most likely not effect me.
All I can say about this is..in the past, it was not my baby crying. When she screams and cries it literally feels as if my heart is breaking. I spent hours crying while holding my inconsolable baby the first few weeks. It truly sunk in and hurt my insides. I wanted to take away her distress and at times I could but not always. I ached inside when her little voice became hoarse from getting so worked up. It does not happen nearly as often anymore but when it does I feel something inside that my husband does not. I'm scared how I will be when she gets sick for the first time..you can start praying in advance for us!

If I needed help, I would just ask. Simple as that.
Oh goodness am I a prideful person! If I ask for help, I feel like I failed..and I do not like to fail so I do not ask for help. This happened during my pregnancy too and I don't know why I am like this. It is an area God has been revealing to me and working on with me. Little by little, step by step..

Newborns will sleep the majority of the day.
Maybe some do but my little baby rarely slept. She also only slept while being held which is nice but what about me eating?..and showering?..and going to the bathroom? The truth is I was too tired to do anything but hold my girl in those first weeks. I cherished those cuddles and took the time to memorize her little face..I knew one day soon it would be different. I would (and still do) sit and stare listening to her breathing and little sighs. I would inhale her sweet milky breath and rub my lips and cheeks against hers. She needed me to hold her. She needed to feel comforted. She needed to sleep.

Babies will obviously cry but it can't be that bad.
Oh it can be that bad. Like I said earlier, Penny's cries broke my heart. In her newborn days (weeks) Penny was a fussy baby. And when I say fussy, I mean she screamed for hours straight with no breaks. This usually occurred in the late afternoon and during the night. Some days I was strong for her and held her, rocked her, sang to her while other days I could not wait for Adam to get home from work so I could shower and get a break. Adam did his absolute best and for the most part handled her crying pretty well but there were times (and there still are) when he needs to gently set her down or hand her to me and walk away. Let's just say his bathroom breaks and taking the dog out started taking a little longer than normal :)

A car ride will surely calm our distressed baby.
Our poor little Penelope..car trips just make her scream louder and harder so much so she causes herself to throw up. We took a road trip to NJ when she was 7 weeks old, big BIG mistake. The drive up was hands down the hardest, saddest, and most stressful day in parenting thus far. Poor Adam had to deal with both of his girls crying. I sat in the back seat with Penny and tried my best to bring comfort to her when all she wanted was to be in my arms. We stopped a lot. We held her a lot. We cried a lot. I nursed her a lot. This day broke my heart but God worked wonders over night and put it back together and prepared me for the next time..

I will hate changing poop diapers. I will always hate poop.
I was a nanny for 4 years..I changed too many diapers to even guesstimate. The funny thing is it's different now. When Penny poops, it's still gross in every way poop is gross but it doesn't bother me. If I get a little on my hand, no big deal I'll just wash them. It's better. Still gross but better.

My little newborn will probably scream during bath time.

To our delight, little Penny has loved her baths since we took her home from the hospital. It was one of her few happy places in the first weeks and still is today! Getting her out of the warm water on the other hand..oh dear!

Adam and I will get along just fine during the early days and with decision making.
You have a guy and a girl. Both not sleeping. One with hormones. You do the math. Remember how I wrote about sleep deprivation? It caused quite a few disagreements and made communication (something we are very good at) extremely difficult. All of these disagreements occurred in the wee hours of the morning when we were clearly not ourselves. The biggest qualm I remember was about the swaddle blankets. Was it too tight?..not tight enough?..warm enough?..too warm?..too close to her nose and mouth?..too low on her shoulders?..oh goodness, did those things cause this momma to overreact and fret. We finally bought the 'Miracle Blanket' after a suggestion from a friend and it solved our issues! We stopped using it around the 3 month mark when Penny started rolling to her side and even her belly.

I'll be able to take care of myself and clean the house during nap time.
Have I mentioned yet how Penny is not the best sleeper?.. Nap time usually only happened when she was cuddled in my arms. Awesome in the most important ways but the house..why hello dirty dishes and laundry, you're still here? The truth is the house does get cleaned but holding my baby girl always wins. Always. Weekends make great cleaning days when Daddy is home to play with Penny.

Adam and I will still go out to dinner and continue our date nights with Penny.

Date night? I barely remember what you are..Sadly Adam and I were way off with this one. We truly believed when Penny was a newborn she would sleep in her carseat allowing us to go out with her but this did not happen. We tried a few times and each attempt ended abruptly with a screaming baby and stressful drive home. Nursing during these early weeks made it tricky to plan how much time we had in between feedings. Her feeding schedule would change day to day. It seemed every time we went out she rarely made her usual 2 hour mark and expected to eat as soon as she woke up. There's a "fun" TJ Maxx story to share..if you ever see Adam, just ask him about it :)

I will still love my dog and treat him like I have always treated him..he's my first baby after all!
..I do still love him but I had a real baby and she's--how do I say it?..BETTER! Poor Colden has missed his long belly rubs and games he used to play with me. During the first few weeks I did not want to touch him in fear of getting his germs or whatever on me and then onto Penny. Adam kept reminding me I just had to wash my hands after petting him but I took it to a whole different level..I didn't want his germs getting under my fingernails because I had to sometimes put my finger in Penny's mouth a bit to detach her from nursing. Yeah..now looking back it sounds silly but at the time I was adamant. Thank goodness my father and husband were here during the first days home because my mind was so far from Colden. Oh you mean the dog still needs to eat?..and to be taken out? Whoops. When Adam went back to work he actually had to call or text me reminders about Colden. I am happy to report things are leaning towards getting back to normal with him but things have definitely changed.

We will certainly have a newborn photo shoot done with a professional photographer.
This one makes me extremely sad. I wanted more than anything to have beautiful pictures taken of Penelope her first days here. I wanted a photographer to capture the precious moments shared between daddy and daughter..of how tiny she was in my arms..the list goes on and on. We did not get this done and now my little 6lb baby is 4 months old. Why didn't this desire and expectation become a reality?--I saw so many newborn family shoots on Pinterest and blogs and facebook..why didn't it happen for my new family?...The answer is simple: It was me. I was too exhausted to do it. I was lucky to get a shower in, how could I all of a sudden get my hair and makeup done and find a stylish outfit that fit perfectly? I had too high of expectations planned and did not have any energy to execute them. It was me.

I am ready to deal with baby spit up.
My experiences with babies have taught me to always be ready for spit up. What I wasn't ready for was baby throw up..how silly of me to think the spit up I've seen was a baby throwing up. You can imagine my shock and horror when my teeny tiny newborn projectile launched what seemed like buckets of milky liquid onto my neck, chest, lap, and bed. It truly looked like a water hose was turned on full blast. I was absolutely mystified over what happened and my heart broke for Penny who was shaking, crying, and soaking wet. This sad scene has happened numerous times and it continues to catch me off guard. Penny and mommy are thankful for warm bathes and clean sheets.

I will be a protective mother but nothing too intense.
This one makes me laugh and has Adam rolling his eyes. I really believed I would be a 'chillaxed' mother..boy, was I off! I am extremely over protective of Penny. You may not sense it when you are around us because I play it cool but my insides are feeling it. I always knew there was a bit of a 'germophobe' in me but did not realize the intensity of it until I had a baby to care for. I am that mother that hopes and wishes you would wash your hands before holding her but do not always verbalize it. I am that mother who sanitizes her baby's pacifier all the time. I am that mother who does not let doggy things touch baby things. I am that mother who lint rolls dog hair off of baby's things. I am and will be that mother who fears sickness and the flu so we will stay home..a lot. I am and will be that mother who puts one too many blankets on her when it's cold. There are two Luv's commercials that really made me laugh out loud because sadly they are 100% talking about me! (12) While I do not think I'll ever be that loose with baby number 2 or 3, it speaks to me :)

I will melt every time Penny smiles at me.
How do I even attempt to explain what her smiles do to me..they just slay me. She started giving us real smiles at 5 weeks old and has been going strong ever since. It's magical how one smile takes away any stress or exhaustion instantly. My little girl is the most beautiful thing and I truly cannot get enough of her.

I now know I could write a list like this for every stage of parenting. The good news--God is good, so very good and graces us with a new sunrise and precious baby smiles every single day. Amen!

Life with a newborn was a challenge and it stretched Adam and I to be the people and kind of parents God desires us to be. We did not always rise to the occasion but with support and encouragement from one another, and the Lord as our rock, we were (and still are) able to look forward to each new day with Penny. She is our absolute joy and we are proud of her. She is our baby..we would do those early newborn days over and over again just to soak her in more..and smell her more. Adam and I are blessed beyond measure, thank you Father!