A love and faith-based tale of motherhood

Oh, Betsy-boo!

Oh Betsy Boo.  Your first year has been such a blessing.  And it is with such nostalgia that I think back on to your birth story.  You came in to this world with such anticipation, such eagerness, and such wonder.  The ten months in the making prior to your arrival were magical.  Every day brought a new promise, a new joy, and new joy-filled fear.  After nine months of watching you grow from a poppy seed into a watermelon, we were ready.  Oh, we were so ready.  Waiting each day, for your arrival.  Your sister came early, so surely, you would too.  But, you had your own way of proving, “I’ll be different.  I’ll be me.  I’ll be my own person.”  And that you did.

You knew how to grow inside my belly.  You were so good at that.  You were so good, in fact, that the doctor felt it was probably a good idea to come out on your due date.  Anything past that, may have made for an otherwise ginormous baby. So, we were patiently waiting for that October 2nd induction date.  Thursday.  Not your due date, but a day early.  As those days passed by that week, your arrival became more real.  We washed the onesies. We set up the bassinet.   We waited.  We were anxiously waiting your birth, as we also anxiously and simultaneously waited for the completion of our home. October 2nd.  A Thursday.  It was here- you were going to come! The hospital would call any minute with an open room for your delivery. We kept your sister home from school because she had a fever. Which, in hindsight, was God’s way of saying- take this time with her.  Enjoy your last minutes at a trio.  Because that was it.   But the minutes passed by and it was finally lunch time.  No phone call.  A quick phone call to the hospital would tell us that this was a busy day for having babies.  The hospital was full. And we had to wait.  So, that we did.

trio kiss

By 4 pm, there was still no phone call.  So, we took your sister to the park.  I remember sitting on the park bench, feeling your baby body turn and shift inside my huge belly.  I remember thinking, I wish this would happen, already.  I was ready.

We tucked your sister into bed that night, and I knew then, that that would be her last bedtime as an only child.  From this day forward, there would be two bedtimes.  Two bodies to bathe, two girls to get jammied up.

Friday morning arrived, and, as most typical pregnant nights previously experienced, I couldn’t sleep.  I was awake and showered by 5:30 that morning.  Boy, I was ready for your arrival.  I felt I could sleep more after you arrived since my pregnancy had been consisting of 1-2 hours of sleep intervals at best.  I walked downstairs in your Nanny and Papa’s house and I had just sat down with my first cup of coffee.  My phone rang.  They were ready.  Ready for us.  Ready for your arrival.  Your sister kissed you from the outside of my huge belly, and your daddy drove – very peacefully, actually- to the hospital.  We had surreal conversations in the car that morning of “can you believe she’s going to be here soon?” and several spoken and unspoken prayers for a peaceful delivery.  But ultimately, I was ready.  Waiting is hard.  Waiting for a baby is even harder.

I stopped to register, and the woman checking us in, asked why I was there.  Clearly, she didn’t’ see your large presence in my black top.  I laughed.  Quite comical that she could miss something so abnormally huge.  And again, the entrance was quite different from your sister’s rushed and chaotic arrival.  The process to register and check in took forever, it seemed.  We were so ready for you to come.  Finally, your daddy and I headed upstairs…

The nurse brought us to the room- and she did all of the “nurse” things.  But it was so calm.  So peaceful.  We were so aware.  It was like a slow motion movie.  And then she started the induction process.  Cervical gel.  Things picked up. The pain.  The bright lights from the room.  The contractions.  HGTV.  Seriously?  We were watching HGTV because at that point, we were still knee deep in a house remodel. After an hour, we went for a walk to the cafeteria to speed things up a bit.  Your daddy was so excited because of the food in the cafeteria.  He was excited to bring your mommy food.  Meanwhile, I was just focusing on the next contraction that was coming.  They were getting stronger.  So strong, that I had to lean on the cafeteria tables to help myself breathe.  As your daddy brought the second round of food, I suggested we head back up stairs after it was almost too hard to stand.  We made our way back upstairs, after what seemed like the longest elevator ride ever. Probably had visions of a baby delivery in the elevator prior to getting to the second floor.  After getting settled again in the room, the contractions were strong.  Every few minutes, and they were getting worse.  The Epidural came- but it slowed things down.  Unfortunately, however, it went straight to my right foot, but it still slowed the contractions down.  Not too effective anywhere else.  Your daddy had to hold my foot up, and it became quite the laughing source.  Lunch time rolled around, and we were now waiting- not much progress was happening.  They started Pitocin and nothing major happened.  Still waiting.  Your Nanny came in to cheer things along.  We had heard that my doctor would stop by, and when she did, she broke my water.  Within 20 minutes, you were headed down and out into the world.  As your Mimi, Aunt Sarah, and Gram came in, I started to push.  You were ready- and there was no stopping you.  Within about 5 pushes, you arrived.

You were 8 pounds, 13 ounces of squishy goodness.  So squishy, in fact, that the delivery nurse couldn’t tell if you were a boy or girl at first because of your rolls. The nurse placed you right on top of my chest, my heart, my whole soul.  That first encounter is still so vivid, so surreal, so emotional.  How could I love another child with as much love as my first?  My biggest fears turned into the biggest joys.  My heart expanded; it grew; it learned.  Oh my love for you was so great, and yet you were still so new.  Within moments, your sister climbed up and placed her hand on top of your head.  That continues to be her favorite place to show love.  She loved you so much that day, before even knowing you.  And that love has just continued to grow.

betsys birth

Your arrival into this world was marked by patience, wonder, and perseverance.  The pure amazement of God’s miracle was witnessed on the day you were born.  By the timing, the love, the perfection.  You were ready to say, “I am here.  I am me.  And I am ready.”  This year has been filled with amazing joy- watching you grow each inch, and reach each milestone.  And each day, you have found your way to say, “I am here, I am me, and I am ready”.  Let your light shine, little one, as you continue to grow into a beautiful little girl.


Fall into deliciousness with just one dish

Last week, I took my daughter to get a pedicure.  Quite a rare occasion any more, as we usually do our own nails at home in the hopes to save money for an upcoming Disneyland trip.  But, nonetheless, we ended up at the nail salon- and the Food Network was on while we were getting our nails done.  Another rarity, as we also don’t have cable.  (Yes, you’re probably thinking that we live under a rock… but no, we still have ample entertainment with Hulu, Netflix, Amazon…. just no cable).  Well, it must have been meant to be for all of this to have happened at that time, because I walked away with the inspiration for my next Sunday meal.

The best thing about this meal?  It’s easy.  One cutting board.  One baking sheet.  That’s it! The concept here is rather new to me, but it is absolutely amazingly genius.  (You’ll see more recipes under this “Cheat Sheet” concept on The Food Network)  I mean, how perfect is a “cheat sheet”?  Just one dish? And done in about an hour?  As much as I love my crock pot meals, I also love a good home-cooked, hands-on meal.  But we still need quick and easy in this household.  And here it is.

{With all due respect, this recipe is adapted from Sunny Anderson’s Roasted Rosemary and Thyme Chicken, Potatoes, and Carrots recipe.  However, I adapted the ingredients and a few other minor details due to preference, convenience, and well, lack of ingredients in my spice pantry.}

Main Ingredients: 

1 Lemon, cut into round slices

Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Thighs (1.5- 2 lbs)

8 whole carrots, washed and sliced length wise with ends trimmed (do no peel)

8 Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced in half, length wise

Important details: 

Olive Oil

Rosemary (we used the kind that comes in a spice jar)

A few dashes of Paprika

A few dashes of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute

Sea Salt, coarsely ground up

Black Pepper, coarsely ground up


Preheat oven to 400 degrees and pull out one (yes, just one!) baking sheet.  Place the sliced carrots (sliced side down) on one end of the baking sheet, layered so to save space.  Place the sliced lemons evenly spread throughout the remaining space of the baking sheet.  Place your chicken thighs so they are resting upon two lemon slices under each end of the meat.  Then, place your sliced potatoes within the remaining spaces around the baking sheet.

Sprinkle the seasonings and spices over all of the ingredients, giving extra love to the chicken, and leaving the Rosemary and olive oil for the last steps.  The more pepper and seasoning on your chicken, the crispier the skin will be!  Sprinkle Rosemary throughout.  Lastly, drizzle Olive Oli generously (but no too crazily) over the soon-to-be deliciousness.

Cook at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken piece and also how quickly your oven cooks.

*I highly recommend testing your meat with a meat thermometer to avoid foodborne illnesses.

Here is the baking sheet before any seasoning:

Here is the baking sheet after the seasoning, but before the oven: 

Here is the final product…. Can I just speak to the deliciousness of the lemons and the rosemary together?  I almost skipped the lemon piece because we didn’t have any fresh ones.  But, I’m glad I have an amazing husband who is really good at quick grocery store trips.  Because, let me tell you… the lemons made this meal.  You can taste every single flavor in every single bite.  And.  The carrots.  I am not one to like cooked carrots, so I was very skeptical.  Folks, this skeptic is now a believer in cooked carrots.  Oh my goodness.  Amazing.

This meal has definitely made it’s way into our rotation of repeating dinners.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did! If only baking sheets came in a double size.


For the original recipe from The Food Network, please check out Sunny Anderson’s delicious recipe– generous thanks and credits to her for this amazing dinner.

Sunny’s Roasted Rosemary and Thyme Chicken, Potatoes, and Carrots

Mid week musings

My goodness.  Time is flying.  Can you believe next week is the end of July?  Then, just like that, we’re in August.  As August approaches, that means back to school for many families.  Some of you may be rejoicing with that vision.  And some of you may be running for the hills wanting more vacation time.  In our household, that vision of back to school is bringing both rejoicing and running for the hills all at the same time.  Now, that’s a lovely vision, isn’t it?  We’re ready for the change, the journey, the people, and the work that a new school year brings.  But we also want more time at home, soaking up moments with our little people, experiencing the ups and downs of baby and preschooler development.

In the midst of all those joys and stresses, I have lots to reflect on this week.

1.  Rearranging.  Organizing.  Baby-proofing.  Seems that they all go hand in hand.  Because once you start baby-proofing, you realize you need to organize.  And once you start organizing, you feel like you need to rearrange.  Funny how that happens.

2.  Cooking.  I’ve started a ‘meal swap’ this week with a friend.  We each cooked double of one meal, and shared with each other.  Cooking for one night, and meals for two nights.  Discovering that it’s much more fun to cook when you know more than just two people are eating your food.  And what a great way to explore new recipes!

3. FitBit.  My husband and girls gave this to me for a birthday gift.  I am loving it so far!  However, I am now keenly aware of how little sleep I get each night.  No wonder I get a little grumpy sometimes…. Goals have been established for more sleep.  Stay tuned.

4. Listening.  Audiobooks are my newfound avenue to reading.  Well, I know it’s not reading, but it’s the next best thing when it’s close to impossible to sit down and read a book.  So, I’m listening to Amy Poehler’s Yes Please on audiobook.  This not only served as a great thing to enjoy while flying with kids and babies, but also a great way to spend most of my time in the car while driving for work.  NOTE*** this is definitely not a book to listen to while transporting children around town, that is, unless you want them expanding their vocabulary.

5. Change.  Both my husband and I are gearing up for some change in our work lives.  This won’t be the first time we go through new ventures at the same time.  And this definitely won’t be the last.  We have come to learn that change is a constant in our life.  And I do believe that change, and fluidity through seasons in life, can teach flexibility, adaptation, and gratefulness.  Only after you learn to embrace the chaos.


There’s so much more…. the ongoing celebrations of my birthday with good friends, old friends, and new friends.  The ever changing smile of our baby girl as she pops more teeth through that once gummy smile.  The amazing kindness and maturity of our preschooler, whom has found her seed in life, nurtured it, and thrived this summer.  The hard work and humility of my husband as he plugs away in the 110 heat working his landscaping passion.

Although it’s still blazing hot here, we are gearing up for “Fall”-like activities with back to school preparations.  One can wish that the fall weather will be soon to follow.

As we come to the last week of July, what are your reflections?

Shine on, my friend.

Somewhere between big and little

Oh, my sweet innocent child.

I see you across the room.  Sitting in your chair coloring the pages in your coloring book.  I see you looking upon your task with such fury, purpose, and passion.  I see you pouring all you have into that one piece of art.

I see you on the playground.  Climbing.  Swinging.  Jumping.  Sliding.  I see you giggle as the water splashes up at you when you jump in the puddle.  I see you try to hide under the very large bridge.  I see you try to run into the green field and enter into your pretend play.

Oh, dear sweet innocent child.  I see you gaze into the distant horizon.  Looking, pondering, and mesmerized with this life.  I see you ponder all that happens around you.

I see you try to brush your own teeth.  I see you try to dress yourself.  I see you helping yourself to food from the fridge.

I see you.

You’re growing.  You’re growing up.  You’re growing out of your baby skin.

And then, I see you.  I see you stumble on the stairs.  I see you skin your knee on the sidewalk.  I see you use way too much toothpaste for your own good.

I see you.

You’re still little.  You’re still a child.  You still need help.

But, you don’t know it.  You’re somewhere caught between big and little.  You’re caught between growing up and being a child.  You’re caught somewhere between running fast and snuggling tight.

Oh, my dear sweet innocent child. How I want to sit and show you a movie of your mama’s life, played back in the old fashioned form, with the speckles of light and gray and white.  To show you, in life’s urgency, all the lessons there are to learn.  But, instead, I sit and watch.  I see you.  Living life.  In it’s fullest.  Living life for the ups, for the downs.  And I cherish this moment.  Somewhere between big and little.

Over the Hump: Weekly Recap

Hi gang…. I know, I know, I’m a day (or two, by the time this is edited and posted) late in my mid-week reflection.  I guess that’s what a 10 day long vacation can do to your brain.  It takes a while to start thinking like a functioning human being again.  Vacations are like a double edged sword.  They are amazing and awful all at the same time.  Yes, amazing AND awful.  You heard me.  The amazingness is the easy part- the relaxation, the beauty, the time with loved ones and little ones.  The awfulness is the mess that comes along with a vacation.  The mounds of laundry, the exceptions to the rules, the off schedule sleep patterns, and the not so healthy diets.  So, as we come down from the amazingness of our vacation, here’s a recap of our mid-week happenings (over the hump and a day late)….

1. Our baby responded well to the cool midwestern air.  She grew an inch of hair, sprouted 3 teeth, and learned to crawl.  All in a week.  Whew.

2. My nursing days have come to a bittersweet end.  Gone are my late night snuggly nursing sessions (sad).  But also gone are my in-car pumping sessions (bonus).  And I can now wear a dress to work.  Major bonus.

3. As we transition back into reality, we also have to transition back into a healthier lifestyle.  We definitely adopted the midwestern comfort food eating habits, after all, we did find every candy shop, fudge store, and ice cream parlor in town.  Now, we’re going to get serious with some clean and healthy eating.  I’ve decided to follow a 2 week meal plan to clean eating from the amazing blogger over on Bless This Mess, Please We have the steak carnitas tacos cookin’ right now.

4. I am currently suffering from a pretty bad chin splint.  Most likely from running a mile through the St. Paul airport in flip flops, holding my 18 pound baby, trying to keep up with my marathon runner husband, all the while hearing our names blasting over the paging system for our final boarding call.  Learning that just because you are in the concourse does not mean you are close to your gate was a pretty important lesson.

5. We are in the throughs of missing people right now.  With long vacations, come long breaks from people.  Teaching a child how to be present with the people you’re with, while still missing those far away is a hard concept.  This conversation also reminds me of how terribly bad I miss my sister and her crew, whom may have moved back into the country, but they’re still a full country’s length away. Miss you sis.

For those of you vacationing, or coming home, or visiting loved ones, or missing those far away, we’re right there with you.

And for those of you who have a nanny, a maid, and a cook waiting for you when you come home from your vacation…. now, that’s a true vacation.

Much love,



Hump Day High Five 

Hi gang! I’m writing this post from beautiful, cool, breezy, and oh so peaceful Michigan. For this Arizona girl, the cool weather and blue waters are a nice change.  So, reflecting on this past week and the next week to come is actually quite delightful. 

My top five for this week’s mid point reflection…. 

1. We have been vacationing for the past few days. A change of pace has brought much needed peace and quiet.  Thank goodness! 

2. After two plane rides and a long car ride, it’s amazing how different traveling with two kids can be. Your hands are suddenly always full and your balance is just slightly off. 

3. No internet connection, no cell phone service, and no texting for 10 days. A total dream but also a total nightmare. (Scoping out free wifi spots just to do a weekly email check and blog post). 

4. Family. Friends. Love. Really- that’s what life is all about. Thanks to God for these amazing blessings. 

5. Writing this blog post on a beach, in a jean jacket, on my birthday. Doesn’t get much better than that. 

Hope you are all finding time to enjoy some peace and quiet this week. If you haven’t done so yet, I highly recommend it becomes the top to-do on your list.  


Hump Day Five

So, it’s July. That means six months have come and gone in what still seems to be a brand new year.  But, now we’ve turned a corner and are one day closer to 2016 than we were to 2014. Crazy, right? In a way, it’s our hump day of the year. We can see six months behind us and we look ahead at the six months to come. 

It’s been a while since I’ve been blogging. Between work days, mommy days, sick days, and vacation days, life got crazy. But, really, when is life not crazy?? So, in reflection this morning, I realized I am going to take time every week to think of the most important, most crazy, and sometimes even the most ridiculous things happening each week. Doing this kind of reflection each week, in the middle, on Hump Day, to give me a chance to look back and look forward at the same time.  And to remind me to be still, even for a moment. 

So, here are my Hump Day 5 for the week… 

1. We are all finally, thankfully healthy after a long streak of crazy and random illnessss.  Blessings in disguise- we made it through the school year completely healthy! 

2. Both girls are waking up multiple times during the night, leaving me with little to no sleep.  Makes me really appreciate sleep so much more.  And the girls are actually napping better during the day. 

3. Watched “Mom’s Night Out” last night. By far the best movie I’ve seen in a very long time. I highly recommend it. 

4. Divorce is ugly.  And so are rude people.  Whoever tells you otherwise is crazy. However, the grace, patience, and humbling love of my husband reminds me that everyone deserves a happy ending.  And he is mine. 

5. I am making my first homemade meal tonight in 3 weeks. That’s right folks, three weeks. Between recital, sickness, work, and vacation, we have been living on take out food and other people’s cooked foods. So, get ready, this momma is cooking tonight. 

Oh, and one more thing. I am loving these long, cool pants. They are amazingly cool in the Arizona heat. And perfect for being on the go.  

 Hopefully you can find the time to reflect on the good, the bad, and maybe even the crazy in your week. 
Blessings and love, 


Protected: A day with our diffuser 

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