hello friday...

Favorites from this week:

*Going to the pool with Finn twice already!  Loving warmer weather which gets me in the mood for summer!

*My morning coffee.  I believe I may be addicted to my morning cup.  After Landon got me some amazing local coffee, I have had a cup nearly every morning.  It just starts the day off right.

*Seeing my mom and dad, and Landon's parents all in the course of a few days.  Family is so dear to us.  Finn spent last weekend with my parents, and Landon's parents came on Wednesday to spend the morning and afternoon with us.

*Hearing Finn say new words.  It's almost like his vocabulary sprouted as soon as he turned a year and a half this week.  He is saying so many new things to us, and you can see his little brain working to communicate with us.  Our little guy is turning into a toddler as I write this!

*Having deep conversations with my husband.  Over the past few months, our relationship has gone from deep to DEEP.  We have hit a new level of marriage, defining how we view our roles in our relationship, becoming more open with each other, and getting through tough moments.  This week was a tough/rewarding week.  I love this man so much, and I'm thankful to be his partner in the journey of life.

*Eating coffee cake.  This recipe was delicious!

*Bike riding.  We are hoping to get out a lot this weekend on our bikes.  Finn is in heaven as he rides in the front of my bike on his little seat.  The simplest things like riding bikes give us the most fun around here.

*Having amazing fellowship with our church community.  We went to a goodbye party on Tuesday for a family that has been a huge part of the church we attend.  Our church is very small, so we are like a giant family and very close.  Landon and I have seen so much good come from this group of people that we are living out life with.  It was sad to say goodbye to the Black family, but we know they will bless whomever they meet in their new city.

Looking forward to a slow weekend, partially here at home, and partially in Ohio with our family for Memorial Day.  Feeling so happy these days.  Life is rewarding.


1.5 years...

Well Finn is officially 1.5 years old today!  It seems like a bit of a milestone, so I wanted to take a few photos to remember.  These have been the hardest and most joyful 18 months past, and it's amazing to see how Finn grows and develops each day.

Here are a few fun facts about our little guy:

*Still loves to eat.  Favorite foods include: hot dogs (natural, nitrate-free for this mama), bananas, cheese, peas, yogurt, applesauce, strawberries, blueberries, carrots, sausage, eggs and cheese, bacon, avocados, sweet potatoes, raisins, brussels sprouts, and practically anything else edible in the house.

*LOVES playing outside.  Favorite activities are: swimming, digging, poking ants, riding bikes, taking walks, playing with water, throwing and kicking balls, exploring the nature preserve, looking at bugs, dogs, and birds.

*Developing a good vocabulary.  He is getting better at saying words clearly.  Some of his best are: mama, dad, yes, please, no, dog, truck, bubble, hot dog, cheese, water (wa-wa), yogurt (yo-yo), oh no, oh yeah, bye-bye (paired with a wave), and yay. :)

He also signs quite a bit, including some new ones his grammie and gramps taught him like: show me, dog, and cat.

*Sleeps pretty great most nights.  We have our nights where we need to go in once or twice, but for the most part, he sleeps 10-12 hours at night, and takes one 2-3 hour nap a day.

*We think he is developing some musical abilities, as he loves playing our guitars when they are out, he plays the recorder, harmonica, and Landon's ukelele a bit as well. (Obviously not well, but he blows and strums as his little mouth and hands can.)

He also sings along when we sing to him, and when he's listening to music in the car.

*Getting a little personality.  And by that, I mean he is learning how to throw fits. :)  We are all learning to be patient as he tries to convey his frustrations, which sometimes seem over the tiniest little things.  But we realize this is a part of growing up, and we are doing our best to help him learn to deal with frustrations in a healthy way.

*Health.  Not sure how much he weighs or how tall he is, but he's happy and healthy.  He's never had an ear infection, only had one fever, and has thrown up on three different occasions.  We are thankful for this and hope that his good health will continue!

*Character.  We have noticed that Finn has a sweet spirit, and while he is getting his feisty on these days, his concern and kindness still show through.  He loves to be affectionate, and asks for kisses and hugs sometimes.  He loves playing with other children his age, and seems to be happy most of the time.

We love this kid so much!!


mother's day...






I was so blessed to spend mother's day with my sweet boy and my amazing husband.  They got me some local coffee from our favorite place, and a locally made sea monster t-shirt I had been eyeing.  Landon watched Finn so I could take a long nap after church, which was ah-mazing!  Tucking Finn into bed last night, I sat and read to him Love You Forever...read that and try not to cry. :)

Being a mama has changed me dramatically in the past two years.  I have learned so much...about myself, and about my son.  I have been challenged almost daily, and it seems that I am not always the "perfect" mom I envisioned I would aim to be when I was pregnant.  There are days when I lose my patience, and days where I have to say I'm sorry to Finn, and to Landon.  I don't have it all figured out, but you know what...no one does!  :)  But the blessings I have received from being a mama far outweigh any negatives.  This little one was given to me so that I might love him dearly, and teach him how to love others.  It is an honor to be a mama, and I am so thankful for this opportunity.

I am also blessed to have two dear mothers in my life, and to know many other moms who have been amazing examples to me.  Here's to all the moms and moms-to-be out there.



I read this today and loved it.

People don’t determine your worth.
Your body doesn’t determine your worth.
Society doesn’t determine your worth.
Your past doesn’t determine your worth.
Your future doesn’t determine your worth.
Your talents don’t determine your worth.
Your shortcomings don’t determine your worth.
Your relationship status doesn’t determine your worth.
Your clothes don’t determine your worth.
Your occupation doesn’t determine your worth.
Your mistakes don’t determine your worth.
You are worthy.

You are valuable because you exist. Not because of what you do or what you have done - but simply because you are. 
— Max Lucado  

On days that are hard, or days that I feel like a complete failure, this is such a breath of fresh air and encouragement.  I will be keeping this quote and tucking it away in a special place to read in the future.


hello friday...


Favorites from this week...

*I bought these Sanuk Yoga Mat Fip Flops at REI and they are ahhh-mazing!!  I have been looking for some good flip flops not from Old Navy for a little while, and fell in love with these.  They were reasonably priced, and I literally feel like I'm practicing yoga all day as I walk in them.  Heaven.

*Taking morning bike rides with Finn.  I am loving this amazing weather we are having, and Finn and I both got our tans on the other day, it was so warm and sunny.  Gotta break out the sunscreen soon.

*Book reading.  I picked up a sci-fi thriller novel from the library and I am already a third of the way through.  It is good, and it feels good to read a book that has nothing to do with babies, food, boobs, parenting, health/medical issues, recipes, or anything else related to being a mama. :)

*Working on an adoption video.  It's almost finished, and I can't wait for people to see it.  The family I'm working on it for is so sweet, and they have one of the most touching stories.  It's an honor to hear their story, and put it into video format for others to hear as well.

*Having my husband bring home a Flying Cupcake after a rather terrible day earlier this week.  I have been battling headaches off and on, Finn is going through some sort of phase (what's new), and some days it can be challenging to handle everything I need to get done.  A cupcake from my guy makes a world of difference on days like that.

*Finishing a financial class!  Landon and I have been taking a financial class for the past 9 weeks, and we finished up this week.  I will tell you that over the past 9 weeks, our view of money and how we use it has completely changed.  We are on the road to becoming debt-free, and it feels so good.  We have decided to post-pone buying a house until we have reached our debt-free goal...which may be a couple more years, but it's going to be totally worth it for us.  We aren't taking the popular route by any means, but we are totally fine with that!  We are aiming to live very simply now, so that later, we will be able to buy things and enjoy things that we are wanting to do, and give in the way we have always imagined.

*Making music.  Landon and I were on worship team on Sunday, and I played guitar instead of violin, and Landon played the accordion!  He enjoyed switching things up as well.  One of my favorite things to do is play music with Landon at home.  When we sing together, it makes my heart happy.

*Staying positive.  It's been a struggle, but a focus of mine to try and stay positive.  It's hard sometimes, with everything going on in the world, but life is so much more real and lovely when I aim to look on the bright side.  This doesn't mean that I discard struggles and hurt, but after processing them, I am trying to come back to focusing on what is good in my life.

Have a great weekend!!


cloth diapering: quick step by step stripping...

I wrote about how we cloth diaper in this post, and after a few comments, I realized I needed to clarify how I go about stripping our diapers.

Before getting into cloth diapering, I had no idea what stripping diapers was or how to do it.  Stripping is a sort of deep cleaning that you do to the diapers every so often to remove build-up from detergents, oils, residue, or any other substance that gets into the diapers and prevents them from functioning correctly.  Some tell-tale signs that your diapers need to be stripped are strong ammonia smell when wet, poor absorption, and leaking.  I have found that I need to strip our diapers every 4 months or so.  It will probably be different for each person.

So, here are the items I use when stripping our diapers:
large pot
baking dish
Blue Dawn Original dish soap
scrub brush
large bowl

Here are some pictures to show how I go step-by-step through this process.  It's a lot easier than it sounds, and it only takes an hour or two depending on how many diapers you have.

First, I bring a large pot of water to boil.  When it's rolling, I add in about 6 of the liners and boil them for 10 minutes.  I poke the liners down into the water often while they are boiling, as they fill up with air and puff out.  Note:  DO NOT boil the diaper covers!  Only boil the liners.


While the liners are boiling, I wet the covers, add a few drops of Blue Dawn, and scrub them really well.


After 10 minutes of boiling, I remove the liners from the water with tongs and place them into the colander to drain.  They are super hot when you pull them out, so be careful!  I add more water to the pot, bring it to a boil, and add in the next liners.


After scrubbing the covers, I place them in a large bowl with a bit of water.  When they are all scrubbed, I rinse them really well, ring them out a bit, and lay them flat on a towel.

Once the liners have cooled a bit in the colander, I take them to the sink, rinse them in cold water, ring them out, and lay them flat on a towel.

After everything is boiled, scrubbed, rinsed and rung out, I throw everything into the washing machine and run it on two to three cold rinse cycles.  I check to make sure there aren't any suds left from the Blue Dawn, then I dry them in the dryer.  In the summer, I will dry them outside in the sun as the UV rays will kill any remaining bacteria and bleach out stains naturally.

Fresh, feels-like-new diapers!

Here is the tutorial I followed if you are wanting more info.  Please know that this is the method I found that works for me, and there are many ways you can strip diapers.


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