Austin, Texas! Yeeehaw!

A few weeks ago I took my very first trip to Texas, and man, was I smitten! Four glorious days in the sun sans kiddos meant lots of sleeping in, loads of delicious food (& coffee!), connecting with dear friends, and some good quality time with my number one man. 

Austin is known for it's good food, live music, and unique culture within the state of Texas. Naturally, one of our first stops was to the local food truck park where we tasted some fantastic local fare.  Our choices that night included fried avocados, tacos, fried chicken, and bubble tea! Suffice it to say, I was in heaven.  

One of my favorite morning destinations was Mozart's,  a local bakery & coffee roaster right on the water with a gorgeous tree covered patio. A must visit if you're ever headed to Austin. 

Along with our coffees, DJ and I ate a warm mini pecan pie with ice cream on top. For breakfast. Reason 1,002 that I love vacation. 

More food? More coffee? Yes, please. 

And while all the amazing food and one-on-one time with my hubby was reason enough for this to be a fantastic vacay, it was time with our sweet friends, the Walkers that made this trip truly memorable. Encouraging conversations about our journeys in church-planting, mid-afternoon runs for coffee, dreaming about the future, evening walks around the neighborhood, and late night episodes of the Profit (we are totally hooked!) left us feeling so inspired and energized. 

If you're ever in Austin, take time on Sunday afternoon to go and check out Providence. In the heart of downtown, this church is such a refreshing taste of warm & welcoming community. A group of people really living life on purpose together. We loved our time with them.  

Until next time, Austin! 

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Kids Say the Darndest Things

It's Friday and I thought we could all use a little happy to bring us into the weekend. 

One thing that makes me happy is my little Ingrid. She's joyful, spunky, and says some of the silliest things. 

I've kept a little journal of some of the funnies she's said this past year, and looking back makes my heart happy. Here's just a few:

  • "God makes trees and everything with his big Jesus wand."
  • "Mom, let's pretend that I'm the garbage and Lucy's the trash can."
  • "No, Mama. You're making me frustrating."
  • Ingrid was sitting at the kitchen table drawing when my Dad (who was visiting from Minnesota) came in to the room and complimented Ingrid on her drawing. 

              My Dad: "Wow, what a beautiful drawing sweetheart. It looks like a bird!"

              To which Ingrid replied, "Yeah, it's a Bald Seagull."

  • We were leaving to go do errands one day and DJ was home sick in bed. Before we left, Ingrid went to his door and said, "Bye, Daddy. God will feel you better."
  • While playing beauty shop with Ingrid one day, she finished styling my hair. I said, "How do I look?" She replied,"Darn and good."
  • Me, "Ingrid, do you want milk or water before bed?" Her response, "Pizza." Well, you can't blame the girl for trying. 
  • As we were leaving the park one day I said, "Let's hit the road Jack!" To which she replied, "No, I'm Ingy."
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  • While driving home in the car one day, I told DJ that I had a pounding headache. Later that day Ingrid asked me, "Momma, do you still have a pound ache?"
  • Ingrid: "Mom, you need to go to the store to get me that one more birthday present."

            Me, "Well, your birthday is over this year so you don't get any more birthday presents, but Christmas is coming up, so you could ask for something for Christmas."

            Ingy, "I want a bathing eye suit."

            Me, "A bathing eye suit?"

            Ingrid, "Yeah, you know that suit that goes over your eyes so you can go under the water?"

            Me, "Oh....You mean goggles?"

            Ingrid, "Yeah, goggles. I want goggles for Christmas."

Oh kids. For all of the ways they can stretch and challenge us, they sure make up for it in the ways they make us laugh. 

Okay, and if you haven't ever seen any of the old Art Linkletter Kids Say the Darndest Things clips, then stop whatever you are doing and watch this clip below. You'll thank me later. This is for your mental health, after all. 

(Sorry for the low quality! Just stick with me! It's worth it)

What are some funny things that your kids have said? 

Loving the Little Years

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I love my kids and I love being a Mom. But it's not for the faint of heart.

Me and my hubby say it all the time. Parenting is high highs and low lows. The good moments are so sweet, so filled with joy, so precious, so amazing you feel like you're going to explode with gratitude. And the low moments are patience testing, blood pressure raising, character building, push you to your absolute limit. 

So in light of the joys and challenges of parenthood, I've decided to share a few ways that I've found to love life in the midst of the chaos. To find joy in the ordinary. And this isn't coming from someone who looks back on the little years with bliss, this is coming from a Momma who's right in the midst of it. 

Yes, I got peed on last week in the middle of the night. Yes, my baby frequently wakes up at or before 5am. Yes, my day includes cleaning up many a smashed cheerio, spilled milk, and squished black bean. Yes, I love it. And yes, I struggle.

So from a Momma who loves my little ones to pieces, and also feels the weight of the challenge of motherhood, here's my two cents on how to find joy in the journey. 

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  • Sleep lots. Eat Well. Exercise often.

Easier said than done, right? I know, I know. But I've found these three things are crucial. An absolute must. One goes out the window and I can totally tell that I am off.

We want the magic pill so bad. That one that makes us feel rested, thin, and 18 again. But in reality, there's no way to cheat in these few areas in life. And when it comes to being a Mom, I've found there is nothing more paramount then sleeping, eating well, and exercising. It sure ain't sexy, but I find that when I do these three things, and focus on doing them well, my whole outlook, attitude, patience, and energy level are so much better.   

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  • Dress for the kind of day you want to have. 

Nothing like the pot calling the kettle black on this one. Yep, I'm guilty. I thought I'd include a photo of me in my purple striped pajama pants to get you motivated. 

All I know is, the days that I wake up early, get dressed, and put on a little makeup, I feel ready to tackle just about anything. It can feel like a silly little thing, but for whatever reason, being dressed and ready to greet the day makes me feel like I'm ready to take on the world. 

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  • Crank up the music!

Pandora saved my life. Well, not literally, but some days it sure feels like it. 

When my sister introduced me to the Elizabeth Mitchell Pandora station, I wanted to kiss her.

Goodbye overly upbeat, uber cheesy, almost intolerable toddler music. 

Hello happy, refreshing, and wonderful listening. 

Game changer. Go make Elizabeth Mitchell one of your Pandora Stations. Seriously...some good listening. 

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  • Don't compare yourself to others. 

They say comparison is the thief of joy. Oh man, is that true for me. Can I get an amen from the choir? 

Seriously, how easy is it to compare our lives to the highly edited version of life we see of friends, celebrities, bloggers, and pinners of the world? We see only small glimpses into people's worlds...a pseudo reality of their best moments...only what they choose to share on Instagram, and instantly we can spiral, thinking our life is so blah in comparison. 

I'm not anti-technology or social media by any means, but I am cautious of what it can do to my heart. This is definitely a work in progress for me, but I know that when I am more present with my kids than with what's happening on the phone or computer, and when I have boundaries for how I engage the social media world, things seem to go a lot better. 

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  • Give yourself a break.

I've found it's somewhat universal. As moms, we're pretty hard on ourselves. We hold a high standard and have created an ideal in our heads of what we should be living up to. Whenever we fall short, we feel guilty. 

My super hero mom ideal includes kids who are always polite, incredibly obedient, don't throw fits, never watch TV, eat an attractively presented wide variety of healthy food, are outside and active several hours each day, and are always fun to be around. That just gets me started. 

Oh goodness. You wonder why I have issues. 

When I admit to what I really expect, I realize I expect too much. Too much from little ones who are just learning, just beginning in life, and just figuring it all out. They are kids after all. And I want them to be! 

If I can give up some of my high ideals, for myself and for my kids, I can enjoy the beautiful mess. I can laugh...both at myself and them. I can enjoy the journey. 

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If all else fails, and let's face it, sometimes it does, then I pretend that I am in a real life episode of The Amazing Race. I imagine that I have to complete whatever "challenge" is ahead of me, with both girls in tow, without losing my cool. If I do, I win a million dollars. 

Heeheeee... maybe I should write to the show and suggest it. Amazing Race: Parenthood Edition. Phil Koeghan hands each team a toddler at the beginning of the season with which they have to include in all their travels and challenges. Now there's an idea, CBS. 

Happy midweek to you all! 



***If you need some more great tips on navigating parenthood, I HIGHLY recommend ordering a copy of Loving the Little Years : Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic. One of my all time favorite parenting books. Practical, witty, and chapters short enough to tackle before I crash for the night. Score. 




I've often thought that if we could bottle both the confidence and joy of my two year old, and pass it out to every person on the planet, than this world would be a better place. 

On days when the outlook seems tough or I feel overwhelmed by what's happening around me, I'm so glad I have this little spitfire to bring me out of my funk. Her endless energy, joy in the simplest things, and love for everyone she meets are such an inspiration to me. 

I love you, Ingrid.