Sunday, December 23, 2012


This marks Gwen's 3rd Christmas... and the first year EVER of doing a Christmas card! I must say, I will plan to make this a new tradition. Oh... what fun!

Backdrop: borrowed organza curtains where the lights are sewn in, a friend had purchased them as wedding decor
JOY: cut out cardboard minutes before photo shoot
The most expensive and toughest part was picking out Gwen's outfit at babyGap!

Future Arteest

I'm trying to get those creative juices flowing early - not sure if I'm helping or deterring, but I certainly have fun! As I discovered in our art session this evening, she is not yet as enthusiastic about painting as her mommy, but we made it work. Most is hers, but I did my part to make sure the tape effect turned out as I had imagined.

This project required:
  • a 2-pack of 11x14 canvas
  • tape (Andy used to do auto pinstriping so I chose a thickness from his stash)
  • gesso
  • crayola paints
  • sponge brushes

Note, my inspiration.

First, I laid out the tape between the two canvases and applied gesso along the tape lines. This prevents color from going under the tape.

Next, I cut the tape connecting the two canvases, then applied blue painters tape around the outside, both to provide a border for the paint and to hold the tape in place.

Then, I let her loose with sponge and regular brushes...

The final product looks a bit chaotic (as mentioned before, I did fill in the blank spots - I'd ask her what color should go where once she had lost interest in doing it herself)
Once the tape is removed, the final masterpiece is revealed! I true work of art for the boring playroom walls!

Another recent project - painting snowflake ornaments for the Grandmas...

And an ornament for our tree as well!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Prepping for Christmas

I want to start doing more crafty things with my daughter - get those creative juices flowing all the while getting new decor for the holidays. Any ideas are welcome. Of course, I'm searching Pinterest for some inspiration. I'm good at 'Liking' stuff there, not as good at actually doing them! What if I miss a good one while I'm off working on another? hehehe

Did some shopping this morning, trying to find ideas for the whole list of folks. I admit, I'm not the greatest at finding great gifts for other people. Except Andy. If it has an N on it (for Nebraska Huskers), he's guaranteed to enjoy.

I'm not even so hot at saying what I want!

Gwen does a better job at that. Open a magazine - any magazine - and she'll start letting you know what's on her list. "I want that. I want that. I want that, that, that and that." Greed begins early! hehehe

What I really want this year is to actually follow through and send cards out! I want great family photos. I want all of my loved ones to have a fabulous Christmas, to remember why we celebrate. I want to sit in front of a fire roaring in the fireplace with some hot chocolate, in my PJs, with my sweet hubby and daughter. I want to see their faces when they open the perfect gift from me (I hope I can figure out what that is!)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thinking 2013

Is it too early to begin thinking about New Year's Resolutions? If so, I guess I'm in the wrong. But I thought, why wait?

2013, I resolve, will be a wonderful year. I will be more active. I will be more careful about what I eat. I will write in my blog more often (off to a great start!). I will spend more time with those I love. No matter how 'busy' life gets, I want my loved ones to know I will always have time for them.

I will do more arts and crafts with my daughter. I will spend more cuddle time with my husband. I will say 'Thank You' more. I will figure out how to use Skype. I will learn how to use the sewing machine that has been in its box for over a year. I will paint some artwork to hang in our new home.

I will worry less. I will pray more.  I will make a better effort to thank my Lord and Savior for every gift. I am truly blessed. I shall not want. He provides for me. Even the unanswered prayers, I must remember are a blessing because He knows what is best, what I need. As much as it hurts, I am thankful to know I am never alone and He has not forgotten or ignored me.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

For the future...

As you may already be aware, I recently started a part-time business with Norwex. I work full-time already so my evenings are pretty packed full. People have asked me why I became a Norwex consultant. My answer, as it is for many questions, is I'm doing it for my family, for my daughter.

It all started when I became pregnant. I read all the books, articles, etc. about what to do and eat - with that came all of the what NOT to do, eat, breathe, wear, use... on and on. I followed most if not all of the rules. I got some ridicule for it. I heard a lot of, "I did all that when I was pregnant and it didn't hurt my kids." I figured, if it has been discovered that something is dangerous, however slight the risk, I would do everything I could to protect my child.

What I learned when I was pregnant did not leave my mind once she was born. All of those things still apply. I'm careful about what she is exposed to, what she eats or breathes, what she puts onto her skin. She has had eczema and Andy and I both have skin issues, so we're definitely careful about skin products and detergents.

I used to wait to do any kind of cleaning until Gwen was in bed or out of the house. Otherwise, it was just water and paper towels. I would go through a LOT of paper towels. Yikes.

When we moved, a new neighber came over to introduce herself and told me how she was a Norwex consultant. I had never heard of their products. She loaned me an enviro and window cloth. I was hesitant, but when I noticed that the table was dirty where Gwen was eating, I got the enviro cloth wet and cleaned the table.

Something so simple. And I was hooked. Here is a product that, with water, picked up all of the germs, the tiniest particles, the grease. And it was done with just water. I could get a surface clean as she ate, right in front of her. No fumes. No residue. Just clean.

I wanted more.

There have been so many chemicals released into the market that have had no testing done to determine their impacts on human beings first. These are products we use and breathe in our home. These are products that we pile under our sinks and need locks to ensure our children do not get poisoned from ingesting them. These are products that stay in the clothes that we wear, sheets that we sleep in, every day. These products cause all sorts of medical conditions. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) stated that, "...studies of human exposure to air pollutants by EPA indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 to 5 times – and occasionally more than 100 times – higher than outdoor pollutant levels. Indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health. The problems they cause can be subtle and do not always produce easily recognized or immediate impacts on health."

I've decided to make a change in our home by radically reducing the use of chemicals in personal care and cleaning, which will save us time and money, and improve our quality of life.

I hope to be able to bring these products to other homes, to spread the word about what we can do to reduce our risk of serious health conditions and save time and money in the process. And maybe help others find a great business opportunity as well, like me. The reason I use and am a consultant for Norwex all comes down to Gwen. I want her to be healthy and happy, I want Andy and I to stay healthy so that we can be around to see her grow, and I want to do what I can to help our planet, to ensure that Gwen will be able to do the same for her children someday.

My Norwex website:
My Facebook Norwex site - please 'like' to see product and specials info, before and after photos, etc.:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Daddy's away...

So Andy is on his yearly man-cation at Table Rock. It's a time I don't look forward to each year, but this year has been a lot of fun so far. He left Wednesday and will be home tomorrow night. The first few nights, my incredible mother came to stay with me an watch gigi during the day so that I didn't have to take and pick her up from daycare every day. That saved me from having to work after she went to bed to make up time out of the office. Plus, it's just great to have g'ma around - for Gwen and me! ♥ that gal :)

Andy being gone is lonely, but in killing time till he gets back, I've actually gotten a lot done. The Norwex products that I have already are getting a lot of use. My goal is to have the house looking shiny and clean by the time he gets home. Plus, it helps me understand the products better since I'm now a consultant. My launch party is next weekend - I'm so excited! These products are so fun to use, I actualy enjoy cleaning. hehehe. I learned today that the mop is my new bestie. I hope I get some bookings in August so that my host/hostesses can get one for free! Totally worth it... Just saying :) (shameless plug alert).

Ya, I miss Andy when he's away but girl time isn't so bad. :) We girls know how to have some fun!

Friday, July 20, 2012


Andy and I had gotten comfortable with our eating habits, our lifestyle, our weight. That was until we went to a surprise birthday party for one of Andy's best friends. His friend was always a bigger guy. I recall how hilarious his skin-tight astronaut Halloween costume was a few years back. It's an image burned in my brain :) But the guy that showed up to the party had lost 40 pounds and looked great! He was in shape, eating healthy, working out regularly. We decided we wanted that, too.

That very next day, we started the diet he and his wife were on. It's simple. A free app on our phone called Calorie Counter - My Fitness Pal. You can also use the website, free as well, You program in your age, height, weight, activity level, what you want to weigh, and how fast you want to get there. It then calculates how many calories you should have in a day in order to meet your goal, taking into account that one should not go under a certain level. Almost every meal is in the database. You simply type in what you're about to eat and it tells you the number of calories in that food. Easy! Andy has reached his target weight after losing about 22 lbs. Me, I've lost about 15 and have a little bit more to go. We have been able to lose the weight at a comfortable, healthy pace.

One of the foods that was already in the database that made a HUGE difference for me was Xocai, healthy chocolate. Yes, what helped me most with my diet was Chocolate! That craving in the afternoon as I sit at my computer at work used to massacre my diets in the past. Now, I pick up three chocolates throughout my day to get me my sweet fix. Not only are the calories reasonable, it's healthy! Guilt-free! Three of these very satisfying chocolates in a day is equivalent, nutrition-wise, to a plate full of spinach! This is not just another dark chocolate you can get anywhere. They've mastered cold processing so that the nutrition is not lost. Incredible stuff.

Needless to say, I am sold. I make sure to get my daily intake of Xocai chocolate every day and I'm spreading the word. According to many, many testimonials you can read on the website, I'm helping to put into the hands of others a product that could help them lose weight, lower cholesterol, relieve arthritis, improve cardiovascular health, decrease or eliminate the need for prescription meds, among many others. If you want to know more, let me know!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Growing up

This weekend was as short as any other, but a lot happened. My baby grew up. I'm excited. I'm amazed, impressed. I'm sad. She showed me how smart she is this weekend. She showed me how she is absolutely not a little baby anymore. She is absolutely incredible and I love her so much.

What did she accomplish? First, she mastered the cup. No more tipping it too fast, sending milk all over her face, dumping down her chest, getting her choked up. No more playing in it with her fork or finger or putting food in it and watching it float around. No, she now says, "thank you," picks it up with both hands, slowly brings it to her lips and tips it slowly until she is able to sip at a comfortable pace before placing it back gently onto the table. Amazing.

Second, she took to potty training way quicker and more consistent than I ever imagined. A long day and a half of intense training (mama was worn out!) But it seems to have paid off! 25 months old. Hasn't had an accident while up, even at daycare the last two days. Before yesterday, she hadn't even ever used the potty while at daycare. Did let some go during nap today. Hasn't mastered #2. But asks to go "peep" every time. Amazing.

Third, she had absolutely no problem switching to a toddler bed. We changed it in time for nap on potty training day! All that going on, no problem. Doesn't get out of it without our permission. Doesn't fall out. Loves to get in and out all by herself. Also learned that jumping up and down on it is quite fun, too. Amazing.

Fourth, she not only knows all of the letters in the alphabet, she also knows that M comes after L. While her computer game was on L, she said, "Now, the Ah-Ah." To most, that wouldn't mean much, but I know her word for Monkey is Ah-Ah. So for the screen to still have the Lion on it and she says Ah-Ah, she knew that when she hit the button, the next thing she would see was a monkey. Amazing.

Fifth, she drew a circle with lines coming off of it. As she did so, she said, "Look, mama. Sun." Amazing.

Sixth, she tried on my bra. Hilarious.

Now some may roll their eyes at some of these things and think, "whoopedy-doo." But it was a lot for this mama to take in over the course of one weekend. I find her to be truly amazing. Even after all of this, I know that I will always see her as my baby.

Today, I thank God for letting me be Gwen's mommy. It's a joy I could have never imagined.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Welcome Home

Finally. We closed on our house on June 29th. It was the last day we still could without going through all of the lending hoops again. The only surprise was our rate was actually lower than we had thought! This was the first time throughout the whole process that a change has been to our advantage. Praise the Lord. We didn't have to move again. I truly feel now that this was His plan. Perhaps I just needed the lesson in patience.

So now, we save up to do those custom things we had been putting off. Window treatments, paint, sprinkler system, patio, fence. Lots to save up for! But all things we plan to enjoy for many years to come.

Great things will happen here. Our neighbors are fantastic. And even better, we're still close with our former neighbors so nothing has been lost there! Gwen seems to like it here. It finally feels like home.

Our first celebration in this house came just the day after closing. Gwen's belated birthday party, celebrated alongside Andy's (Gwen's was 5/28 - Andy's was 6/27). It was the house-warming party we had hoped for as well.

Today, I pray for continued blessings in our new home.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


My apologies for writing so much about my infertility woes... As I was writing to a friend just a few minutes ago, I realize that I tend to blog when I'm in the dumps. I need to do a better job of running to the computer when I am joyful! Which is what brings me here tonight, thankfully.

I am impatient. I pray a LOT for another baby. I worry. I get sad, very sad. But more and more, I am filled with hope. A funny thing happened the other day. We met a few of our neighbors just a few houses down. Kids were running around, riding bikes, playing in the water. There were two mothers outside sitting on lawn chairs in the driveway watching it all. We introduced ourselves. They pointed out which kids were theirs.

One gal was obviously pregnant. Andy asked, "When's the big day?" Her response: "July 18."

My heart skipped a beat. That would have been my due date. Exactly. When I found out I was expecting, I made Andy a card. It was my way of telling him the news. I told him it was just another design I had been working on for someone. He reluctantly acted interested. This is what he read:

Notice the date.

Instead of feeling sick and depressed, I felt joy. Even though I just met these people, I have no idea what their religion is, I blurted out that her due date would have been mine as well. I felt that it was a bit uncomfortable but didn't care. I continued, "It's ok. God brought me to you so that I could hold your baby." I thought, how great it will be to see him/her grow up. I didn't look at it from my usual pessimistic perspective. No, it won't be a constant reminder of what I could have had. This is how God intended it. I'm excited for her, for their family.

I continue to pray. We'll continue to try. But today, I pray and thank God for the joy and peace... and hope... that He has given to me.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Waiting... kinda patiently

Those who know me best would not likely describe me as patient. This is quite possibly why God continues to place me in situations where waiting is all I can do. Right now is a particularly trying time in my life.

I had hoped by now to be able to write that we have closed and are settled in our new home. This is not yet the case. But I'm trying to be patient until it is. We think closing should happen around the end of the month.

God's second challenge for me right now: when gigi was six months old, we began trying for another. A year and a half later, still trying. Did two tiny little tests at the Center for Reproductive Medicine - a place I spent a lot of time at years ago. Two tiny tests have cost me $1100. That's not medicine. That's not inseminations. That is one blood test and one HSG (dye) test. Either prices have sky-rocketed or my memory did not serve me correctly.

So the Lord asks me to be patient. I hear it screaming at me from Psalm 27:14. "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."

I'm trying. But the new house is a constant reminder. Every tour we give of each room is a reminder that our plans are only temporary. When I get pregnant again, my now-studio room will be converted to nursery. The now-exercise room will then be the studio/exercise room. I envision it. Should I? Or should I accept that those rooms are what they are... and will remain that way?

Nope. I refuse to lose hope. The baby stuff now in storage will be brought out again. Adoption is still a possibility. Or a life with just the three of us wouldn't be so bad either! I just wish my heart would stop fluttering every time I think of adding to our family. I wish it wouldn't ache every time I get another 'negative.' I wish I could see other women's bellies and families grow and not wonder why they deserve it more than me.

Lord, help me be thankful. Lord, help me to not want! Let me focus on the incredible blessings you have given us - Gwen is everything I prayed for and more.

On this Father's Day, I pray for patience.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

New Kids on the Block

So... we're all moved in. Finally got a chance to stop unpacking and cleaning long enough to spend some quality time with my computer. I wish I could say everything has moved smoothly through the transition, but it definitely has had its bumps.

First, one day before we started moving our things to the new home, we find out that it is a foreclosure situation and the bank will likely not let us close on the day/time we had settled on. It was the first we had heard about a foreclosure. We did go ahead with the move and sold our home as scheduled. That was about a week ago now. Currently, we are living in a home we don't own just waiting for the bank to give the ok to move forward with the transaction. I believe it is now in a short-sale process, which I hope means that it will eventually be our home but nothing is guaranteed until the last paper is signed. Every box we unpack, every purchase we make, we wonder. Will it just go back into the box? It's hard to really settle in, to meet the neighbors, to put our personal touches throughout - until it is home.

We painted only one room, Gwen's. She seems to really like it here. We put her in the room on the front of the house. The only down-side to that so far is that all of the neighborhood kids love to play... and scream... past her bedtime. So that will take some getting used to. But it's a good problem to have. Hearing kids screaming and laughing outside means that there are lots of potential life-long friends out there for Gwen. I'm looking forward to seeing her in the mix.

But hearing the new neighbors outside make me miss our old neighbors. I miss going outside and seeing familiar faces, seeing our friends. These folks all seem nice but they're still strangers. I'm not an outgoing person. I take a long time to get comfortable with new people.

I hope to post soon that closing is done, that the house is our own, that we have made new friends in our new neighborhood. I pray I will get that opportunity. Things will settle down soon and we will go wherever God leads us. We will accept whatever challenges He gives us. I have faith ♥

Monday, May 14, 2012

Moving Along...

So far, so good. Things are moving right along (pun intended). All papers are signed and now we're just waiting on appraisals to prove that we haven't asked to borrow to much. Closing day is scheduled for June 4th, a Monday. Hopefully we can get into our new house by Friday prior to start painting and cleaning.

It's a very exciting time. It's a very stressful time. It's been an emotional roller coaster for me. Most obvious reason being I don't much enjoy spending money and moving requires a lot. And it's sad to leave a home we love so much, we love it still. It's just not the right school district for Gwen. We're getting into the Maize district while the rates are low - we knew the day would come. I guess I didn't completely realize it was happening so fast. The house was on the market for over a year just last year. So to sell in four days was quite a shock.

This house has been home for almost six years - Andy and I have not stayed in one home anywhere near that long since we lived with our parents! Many wonderful memories were made here. Lots of family gatherings, time with friends. Some of those we loved and spent time with in this house are no longer with us - Andy's father, my grandpa, our friend Dan. We celebrated holidays here, and birthdays. We have laughed a lot. We have cried. This was the home we told potential birth mothers about, showed them where the baby's room would be. This is the home where I later was blessed to watch my belly grow, where we made a room for our precious little girl. We have watched her grow in this house. We played in that backyard. We gave her her first taste of rice cereal in that kitchen. My grandpa held her for the first time here, on that front walkway. And just the other day, I took her picture as she ran through that yard. Soon, this will be someone else's home. And yes, we'll have a new one to call home but I'll miss the memories made here. I know by the time we're ready to leave the next one, I'll have a much longer list of things I will miss about it. But right now, it's a place I don't know. It's exciting, but a little frightening.