Wednesday, March 4, 2015

what's new.

my baby is almost one. whhaatttt?

i swear i was just writing about being "so over" being pregnant. time just flies by. it really is bittersweet. as much as i love the tiny baby stage, i'm truly loving watching my boys play together more and more and seeing their little relationship blossom. no one can make hunter laugh like bennett can. bennett loves to hug hunter and teach him things like clapping and "so big!" they are best friends and i am praying for a life-long friendship for them.


bennett is hysterical these days, constantly making me laugh by saying the silliest things. the other day we were at an open gym playing and he ran over and said "i gotta go potty, liz!" ummm, my name is mommy, mister. he is my little parrot, constantly telling hunter to "be patient" and shushing joe for singing too loud in the car (i'm glad to have an ally in that battle!).

he loves wearing my boots around the house

bennett is dyyyyiiinggg to go to preschool now that we enrolled him for the fall. he talks about it constantly and beams with pride when he tells people about it. unfortunately he is convinced he will be taking the bus to preschool and i have refrained from correcting him. more recently he decided he will take a firetruck to preschool. the expectations just keep getting higher and we have about six months to go. preschool may seem pretty lame to him by the time he goes!

we switched bennett to a big boy bed (aka took the front off his crib and put up a toddler rail) a few weeks ago and it was literally the most seamless transition we have had yet. I always build up the transitions in my head like they are going to be horrible and bennett's resilience continues to surprise me. he has only gotten out of his bed/room one time and that was completely my fault. he had been calling for me for way too long and i was lazily trying to put off getting up longer than i should've. can't blame the kid.

joe and i are doing dave ramsey's financial peace university and have two nights left. we did the class when we first got married but obviously life has changed a bit since then (two kids, two student loans, two mortgages, one income, etc) so we felt like going through the course again would be helpful for us. and it really has. we feel better about our financial picture (and our communication about our finances) now than we have in several years. we are diligently working on the baby steps, using our cash envelopes, and developing a plan to be completely debt-free (minus our mortgage) within the next few years.

my diet/fitness game has been weak lately and i am really struggling with it. i have hit this wall before and i think it's partially just burnout. i'm taking a little break from tracking what i'm eating to see if alittle  time off will help me get my motivation back. i'm still getting to the gym a few times a week and i'm eating what i want but trying to be mindful of portions and hunger/fullness. maybe it's just time to have another baby (ha). actually that is in the plan for the near-ish future but maybe not quite yet. though 7 out of 10 in our supper club group are pregnant, so the peer pressure is mounting. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Friday, February 6, 2015

seven, ten months and nashville.

as expected, i got a little behind on the posting. we finished the food week for seven and finally got hunter to the doctor for his nine month well check (at nearly 10.5 months...).

seven's food week was honestly a struggle. i think it was less about the food for me and more about being asked to do something i didn't want to do. it definitely brought to light my unwilling spirit in some areas of my life i feel called to, but simply don't want to, submit to God. so, in all it was tough, it was a learning experience, and i am super glad it's over.

as for hunter, at 10 months old he's still my skinny mini. he looks chubby (which i love), but he's only in the 10th percentile for weight, 20th for height and 50th for head circumference. some day he will grow into his big noggin, haha. he's right on track with development- crawling all over, eating anything and everything, starting to pull himself up and sleeping like a champ.

if all babies were as smiley and easy going as he is, i would have a hundred. joe would disagree.

joe and i went to nashville last weekend for a little getaway. joe has an aunt and uncle who live there so we stayed with them and had a good balance of spending time with them and doing our own thing. we saw some live music on friday night which was cool. the bad was called the smoking section and it's made up of some of the major musicians who've played on many of the country stars' albums and in their bands. joe's uncle is in the music business so he knows the good music to see, and the smoking section didn't disappoint!

we also had some super good pancakes at the pancake pantry and saw the country music hall of fame while we were there which was cool.

they had a musician showcase thing going on at the hall of fame while we were there which featured kasey musgrave's drummer. he was really good and it was fun to see a little acoustic performance. we even bought the guitar player/singer's album.

so thankful my parents were willing to watch the boys for us!

bennett playing in the refrigerator box house my mom made him

Saturday, January 24, 2015

seven foods: halfway point.

this is not fun. seriously.

originally i thought maybe i would at least lose a little weight through this thing. not so. all i'm eating is peanut butter toast. eggs sometimes. apples a lot. more than one cup of black coffee a day for sure.

dry chicken is gross. dry spinach is grosser. potatoes take too long to cook. we definitely made some errors in choosing our foods. we decided to do chicken instead of turkey which was a major judgement fail. at least turkey deli meat would've made a palatable sandwich sans condiments. dry chicken on bread is like eating chalk. also spinach sounded like such a healthy, righteous choice. but it's boring and tasteless so i've barely even eaten any this whole time.

this was my attempt at lunch one day: spinach, apples, chicken, olive oil, salt and pepper. looks better than it tastes- take my word for it.

homemade baked potato chips. actually tasted good but burned most of them after spending forever making them. cue frustrated meltdown.

we are considering a midway swap: cheese for spinach. not sure how i feel about it- would that be cheating? jury's still out.

emotionally, i've got to be honest, this whole thing is bringing out a very unflattering side of me: the "i don't want to and you can't make me" side. i've felt rather convicted that i am completely resistant to the possibility that God could use this experiment to actually teach me something and change me for the better. instead i've dug my spiritual heels in and acted like a stubborn two year old (and believe me, i would know what that looks like; i've got quite the example of one of those at my house. not naming names or anything...). i'm going through the motions but refusing to let it mean anything.

this is exactly the opposite of what i am called to do as a Christian. Jesus, in luke 9:23-24, says, "'whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. for whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.'" when have i ever really denied myself? not often. and with a willing spirit at that? probably never. certainly not daily.

while God doesn't necessarily require me to eat only seven foods for a week, this exercise has most definitely revealed my unwillingness to deny myself as an act of obedience to God in many areas of my life. being abundantly blessed can apparently become a stumbling block to sacrificial obedience. and i think it has in my case. food for thought... (get it? ha ha)

three more days. 

Monday, January 19, 2015


for our small group we just started a new study. we are doing 7: an experimental mutiny against excess by jen hatmaker. the premise is to temporarily reduce the amount of excess we have in 7 areas of our lives: food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste, and stress. honestly, this is not a study i would've chosen on my own. it's not really my style. i can get on board with reducing my stress, but otherwise i want lots of food and clothes and i don't want to have to monitor my media time or spending or think about how much i waste in a given day, week, month or year. but i guess that's the beauty of a small group; everyone has a unique perspective, unique gifts, etc. and we are able to learn from one another. so, here goes 7.

jen hatmaker took one month to focus on each of the seven areas of excess. she challenges us to give each one a week. we just read chapter one, which is food. she chose seven foods and ate ONLY those seven foods (plus salt, pepper and moderate amounts of olive oil) for a whole month. her foods were apples, spinach, chicken, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread, eggs and avocados. ok, i like those foods; this doesn't sound THAT bad. no spices, condiments, sauces, sweeteners. umm, ok bland, but still, it's only a week. no coffee. that's where i draw the line.

so, joe and i start tomorrow (tuesday, january 20th) with only 7 foods for one week. our foods are pretty much the same as jen hatmaker's, with a few minor modifications:

turkey (my idea is that we can have deli turkey, roasted turkey breast, and ground turkey)
whole wheat bread
peanut butter

also, for the safety of my family i have decided that i will have one cup of black coffee each morning. no lattes. no cream/sugar. so, basically, it sucks. but i fear for my children if i don't have it. so that's that.

since bennett literally lives on cheese, bread, peanut butter, popcorn, and applesauce, he is not doing 7. hunter will do 7 because the kid will eat anything we put in front of him and won't stop eating until we stop giving him food. a boy after my own heart.

joe is all "this won't even be hard" and "i think we should do this for longer than a week." i'm all "GIVE ME CHOCOLATE NOW!" and it hasn't even started yet.

my reluctance to do this experiment has definitely been convicting. as much as i joke about it, i like my comfortable life. i like that i can basically indulge any craving i have at any time. i never have to worry about where my next meal will come from. but the truth is, this isn't the case for the majority of the world. in the book, jen hatmaker talks about how if you make $35,000/year, you are in the top 4% of the wealthiest people in the world. if you make $50,000, you are in the top 1%. YIKES. i chronically take what i have for granted and focus so much energy on keeping up with the joneses. or, as dave ramsey puts it, spending money i don't have on things i don't need to impress people i don't like. yeah, that.

so, i'm praying that God uses this whole experiment to change my heart and help me to recognize my abundance and use the recognition as a catalyst to alter my perspective and behavior long-term. i need to get back to the true meaning of want versus need. the two have become practically synonymous.

but i will continue to maintain that coffee is a need. it just is.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 going on 2015.

2014 has been quite a year. i began my venture as a stay-at-home mom (and, in an effort to embrace SAHM-dom, started driving a minivan), we welcomed sweet hunter joseph into our family, joe achieved a huge milestone of becoming a million dollar rep for wright medical, we celebrated our fifth year of marriage, i lost 35 lbs since the end of june (and counting!), we potty trained bennett, i began a work-from-home job a few hours a week, and the list goes on.

it's also been a challenging year for us with trying to navigate the major life changes and manage the stress caused by long hours, sleepless nights, and a "spirited" two year old. though we undoubtedly argue and snap at one another far more often than i'd like to admit, we can be confident that we are both in it for the long haul. i'm thankful for a patient husband to both work through the difficulties and frustrations and celebrate the victories and joys with.

i'm definitely resolving to be a better wife this year, learning to hold my tongue ๐Ÿ‘… and watch my tone ๐Ÿ™Š

my other resolutions this year include using cash instead of credit, paying off debt, continuing to lose weight, keeping a cleaner house, and staying calmer with bennett. i know that's quite a laundry list of resolutions, but my goals are simply to be better this year than last. progress, not perfection.

Friday, December 12, 2014

good for the soul.

yesterday was my monthly cooking club's annual christmas celebration. i look forward to cooking club each month, but especially at the holidays. this year's holiday theme was "just like grandma made." when i think of my grandma holmes' cooking i think of 3 things: baked macaroni and cheese, pies (peach and pumpkin) and, most importantly, california raisin bread.

my grandparents, cecil and kathleen holmes, live in hudson, iowa. growing up, we would travel a couple times a year to stay with them and i always looked forward to grandma's raisin bread. we would arrive and i'd immediately feel comforted by their house's warm, bread-y smell. sure enough, loaves of bread were found rising on the kitchen counter, almost ready to be baked. that fresh from the oven raisin bread just smelled and tasted like love.

making homemade bread has always intimidated me. actually, anything requiring yeast has always intimidated me. but my grandma taught me how to make her raisin bread several months ago and i decided i would be brave and attempt to make it by myself for cooking club. i pulled out the recipe my grandma had just written down for me over thanksgiving and read through it. lots of steps. but the last thing she wrote on the card was "enjoy making the bread- it's good for the soul. love, gr."

thankfully my children cooperated and napped long enough for me to go through the whole process: mixing, cooling, kneading, rising, deflating, rising, kneading, rising, baking, cooling. while i *almost* forgot to mix in the raisins, i'd say my bread was a success. maybe not quite as good as grandma's, but still delicious, and definitely good for the soul.

Monday, December 8, 2014

the latest.

considering it's been a month and a half since my last post, it's safe to say that consistency isn't my strong suit (bennett would likely agree...) for the most part things have been about the same around here. the boys are doing great and i'm truly loving being home with them. some days are tough for sure, but i love it a majority of the time.

i feel like bennett is suddenly so big and grown up. like, he's practically applying to colleges (ivy league pre-med, of course). it's so sad, but fun at the same time.  he is constantly singing jingle bells, baby beluga (or baby ah-wooga, as he says), abc's, old mcdonald, and of course happy birthday to himself. he's obsessed with fire trucks/firefighters, christmas lights, daddy's snowblower, and bubble guppies (yes, still).

he would live on pancakes and popcorn alone.

he loves BSF and MOPS and i love hearing him talk about jesus. hunter is still his best friend and he is just so sweet to him.

he is just so funny and i can't get enough of the funny stuff he says.

we have unfortunately entered the "why?" stage and "because!" is typically my end response (followed by ignoring the whys that inevitably keep coming). also, bennett recently started stripping off his clothes and diaper when protesting nap or bedtime. luckily it's not a super regular occurrence, but it does happen enough to be frustrating! speaking of diapers, potty training is great. he still needs reminders and does have an occasional accident (1-2 times a week, maybe) but for the most part he's good to go (although poop is definitely a challenge- he's gone in the potty many times but would rather not. gross).

we would love for him to tell us more regularly when he needs to go potty rather than us telling him it's time to go try, but we will get there. we knew it would be a longer process since we started at such a young age and we're ok with that.

hunter is such a big boy, too. we switched to formula a few weeks ago and while it's always bittersweet, i'm happy to be done nursing. hunter didn't miss a beat and has been completely content with bottles/formula. he's sleeping really well, typically sleeping 7:30-7:30, waking up sometime around 5AM to eat. he LOVES purรฉes and will pretty much eat anything.

still no teeth (bennett didn't get his first tooth until he was 11 months old) but loves little finger foods like diced mangoes and bananas and, of course, little puffs and yogurt melts. hunter is super smiley and easy-going. no crawling just yet, but lots of backwards scooting and spinning in circles is happening.

both boys love their time with my parents, mimi and papa! we spent thanksgiving at their house in chetek with them, my brother ryan and his wife jeanie, my grandparents, and my aunt carol. despite most of us getting the stomach flu, we had a good time together.

i'm still working on my weight loss/fitness goals and am down about 30 lbs since june. i seem to be stuck at this point and am having a hard time getting past this little plateau. i'm working on eating more protein, which is definitely a challenge, and am incorporating more strength training into my exercise regimen. i still do some running on the treadmill, but not as much as i did this summer. consistency with healthy eating is tough all the time, but especially this time of year with so many celebrations, cookie exchanges, family gatherings, etc. sometimes it's frustrating to feel like i have to work so hard at this and even then don't always see the results i'd like. but that's the way it is so i'm trying to focus on making good choices and letting it go/moving on when things don't go as planned.

joe is busy with work, and just hit a huge milestone- $1,000,000 in sales for the year! it's a huge deal for reps to hit the million dollar mark and he worked really hard to get there. i'm super proud of him! he's playing pick-up basketball on wednesday nights and likes to get to the Y to play racquetball when he can as well.

so that's the latest! we are already really enjoying this christmas season together. it's the most wonderful time of the year!