. . . for Lauren and Lauren: January 2018

January 29, 2018

Loving . . .

AMERICAN EAGLE JEANS.  I shared (here) about my new favorite jeans a few weeks ago and I loved them so much I bought another pair.  These aren't quite the same cut, and are a lot lighter, but I love them just as much.  They are so comfortable and fit so well.  This top and cardigan are also from American Eagle.  It's become one of my favorite stores!

MY BULLET JOURNAL.  I know I just wrote about it but I love it so much.  I use it every day and love filling things out and making new pages.  I am determined to read way more than I have done in the past and am already one and half books into the new year.  Which is WAY better than last year. What books should I add to my list?

ADDILYN.  I knew Isaac would be excited about a love Rosie, but I wasn't sure how Addi would do. I think she was happily surprised at how tiny and cute she was.  She has been so wonderful and sweet with her.  She doesn't want to leave her when we go out, and is so excited when we come home. Plays with her and snuggles her and is just really good with her.  It makes me so happy!

ISAAC'S HAIRCUT.  Isaac and I went to get his hair cut on Saturday and then went to Starbucks. It was fun to go on a little "date" with just him, even though he did not like getting his hair cut. I can't believe how old he looks, and that in less than one month he will be TWO!

WISHLIST.  These clothes/shoes are all so cute and everything is $15 and under!  (The pink top and camo top are on there way to me now!)

 one // two
 three // four
five // six

BURN BOOT CAMP.  I need to write a post about it soon, but I can't tell you how much I love working out at Burn Boot Camp.  It is one of my favorite things that I get to do during the week and makes me so happy, and I'm feeling stronger and stronger!  

I hope you have a great start to your week!

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January 25, 2018

Meet Rosetta

Meet the newest member of the Vale family!  Rosetta (Rosie) our new golden doodle puppy.  We brought her home on Saturday, after Chris and I drove to get her from Indiana.  She is 8 weeks old and the sweetest little thing.  I can't believe how tiny and soft and adorable she is! It's been over 10 years since we've had a puppy and I can hardly remember Molly as a puppy! Our kids knew we were bringing her home and were SO excited.  

 We have been so missing having a dog in our house since losing Molly, but thought we'd wait till the Spring to get a puppy.  But once we started looking we couldn't wait!  We found this sweet puppy and were messaging the owner back and forth, pretty certain we wanted her.  I had sent her a picture of Molly and the kids, and she messaged back that Rosie's mom's name is Molly and sent us a picture of her.  She looked exactly like our Molly.  We were sold and knew she was meant to be ours!

She has been so sweet.  Our kids love her and are really gentle and sweet with her.  Of course we are cleaning up lots of pee and talking her outside in the snow every 20 minutes it feels like.  And I feel just a little overwhelmed and tired!  I know it'll be a lot of work for awhile but so so worth it.  I couldn't be more excited to add Rosie to our family and pray for lots and lots of years with our new girl! 

January 18, 2018

High Five

top: c/o  shein   sweater: shein    pants: old navy    boots: just fab

ONE. This top (technically a dress I believe) is so pretty.  I love the drop waist and the floral pattern.

TWO.  These jeans from Old Navy are one of my favorites.  They're stretchy and feel like leggings, but pass for real jeans.  Double win. (They aren't on sale and I would wait to buy them once they are! I think I got them for under $20.)

THREE.  We got a lot of snow this week and it was fun to play outside.  Although Isaac did not love it and only lasted ten minutes both times we tried.  Addi would've stayed out there forever I think! 

FOUR. One of my goals for 2018 is to read more books.  I just finished the book Never Unfriended by Lisa-Jo Baker, and just started reading Dance, Stand, Run by Jess Connolly.  Tell me what books are on your list to read! 

FIVE. We have an exciting weekend ahead and I can't wait to share next week! 

Hope you guys have a great weekend!
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January 17, 2018

A new year

I feel like the last two years (perhaps maybe most moms could relate?) that I was mostly just surviving in terms of my personal self.  Adjusting to two kids, moving, keeping our house put together as possible, little sleep, forever changing routines and patterns and schedules and everything else of adulthood.  I have not had the motivation and desire to make resolutions and have failed to work on growth in myself in this season.  But I am feeling motivated and determined and excited about 2018 and know that God is going to work in my heart and I'm wanting to do the work.  

I recently got a bullet journal and I can't tell you how much I love it. (I got this journal and these pens and love them.)  It's relaxing, enjoyable and I think will help me stay organized and motivated. I wrote out my resolutions for the year . . . . . 

Put my phone away after 9:30.  I want to spend less time on my phone throughout the day, and may put some other limits at some point, but for now I'm plugging my phone in and putting it away by 9:30 so I stop wasting time before I go to bed. 

Pray for my kids more. I want to work more on my prayer life, and specifically want to pray for my kids more - their relationship with each other, their future and most importantly ways that I can show them how much God loves them and that they chase after Him. 

Bring a friend a meal or flowers once a month. I want to show acts of kindness more, so this is one of my goals!

Be in a small group.  It's been way to long since I've been in a small group (since right before Isaac was born) and I'm longing for connection and spiritual growth with other woman. 

Bake more things from scratch.  I have always loved to bake and still do with the kids, but almost always use things from a box.  I'd love to go back to making home made muffins and donuts and whatever else!

Read more books, watch less Netflix.  It's embarrassing the amount of time I've spent (or not spent) reading books the last two years.  It's so much easier for me to watch tv when I have any down time, but I want to change that this year.  

Care less about how much I weigh and more about how strong I feel.  I wish the number on the scale wouldn't even matter to me, and I determined to work on that this year.  I'm feeling really strong and I want to focus more on that and reaching different goals than on weight. 

Get Isaac in the gym childcare and nursery.  Anytime we've tried either he just cries so so hard and gets really worked up and then we don't try for awhile.  I would LOVE to be able to sit in the service with Chris, or go to the gym whenever I wanted and use their childcare.

Make healthier food for my kids.  I know kids are picky and many don't eat great, but I want to try to make different options and at least offer my kids healthier options. 

Play more games with Chris.  Again, we watch a lot of tv and I want to spend our time playing games like we used to more often. 

Do an unassisted pullup.  I am determined to be able to do one unassisted pullup at the gym. I am much stronger now then when I started but still can't even move an inch when I hang from the bar.  It will happen some day!

Go on a girls' trip and go on a trip with Chris.  I have plans to go away with my high school girls friends for a long weekend and I can not wait.   I also want to go on a few day trip with Chris, as we've never been gone for more than 24 hours in four and a half years!  

I am really excited for 2018 and a lot of self growth.  So cheers to a new year and a whole lot of goals to be accomplished!  

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January 15, 2018

Ready but not even close

top: c/o shein   jeans: american eagle   shoes: dsw

This outfit makes me overly, but very prematurely, ready for Spring.  Holey jeans, a comfy light weight sweater and sneakers.  I wouldn't stand a chance outside in this for any length of time.  Although we did have one day last week where the temperatures hit 50 and it was raining.  I even played outside with the kids for a very brief time, and it felt so good to just be outside.  Spring time, I am trying to hold off in my longing for you, but it is drawing nearer.  May I patiently wait another two months at least. 

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January 11, 2018

drawing nearer

It's been quite awhile since I've written any kind of personal blog post, and I miss processing my thoughts this way and miss sharing my heart.  And to be honest it's not because I didn't want to anymore, but more so felt like I didn't have anything worthy to write and to share.  But this last month I have had a lot that I've been processing and learning and figure it'd be good for me to write it out and share.  So here it goes . . . . 

The last year or so I've felt pretty spiritually dry and even though I'd read my Bible and pray, was missing a deeper connection with God.  We've switched churches in the last year, and I know part of it was missing deeper relationships in a community but a lot had to do with a passion for the Lord that wasn't as present.  About a month ago during worship at church I asked the Lord to give me a greater desire to follow Him.  I told Him that I am ready for a change and that I needed to feel pursued by Him.  

At church the next week two people came up to me at different times and told me that God placed me on their hearts and wanted me to know that I was welcomed and wanted and seen.  I can't explain how that spoke to my heart and I know it was no coincidence to my prayer the week before.  

That next week my kids were both sick, we were stuck at home all week, my car had to be towed, we had gone almost two months without having a renter in our house with no prospects, Chris fell really hard outside and had to go the ER, where he thankfully just had a bad concussion, but it really scared me.  For about a month I had been experiencing chest pain on and off, and that same weekend it become continuous and wouldn't go away.  It felt like a bunch of things were piling up as they often do at once, and I felt overwhelmed and anxious. 

My mom has had heart issues in the past, needing open heart surgery, so of course there was a fear that something with my heart was wrong.  I went to the doctor the next day and had an EKG done, which looked normal and the doctor believed I had built up acid reflux. as a lot of my symptoms matched that.  I was put on medicine, which four days later there was no change so I changed medicine again, and then again.  The pain decreased some but was still quite present.  I couldn't shake the feeling that something else was wrong and really struggled to not be terribly anxious.  

While I have never experienced a panic attack before, I am pretty sure one evening that was the case, as I started to feel pain up my back and in my neck and even more pressure in my chest.  I was out running an errand by myself and just started crying in the car.  I prayed out loud to God that I know He sees me and is using these things to draw me closer to Him and that I needed Him.  

I know there is zero coincidence that all this happened so soon after I prayed that God would show Himself to me.  I know very well that God uses stress, fears, hard times to draw us closer to Him, and ultimately can use all these experiences for His glory.  

Since then I have felt God's presence so much greater than even a month ago.  I've been spending time praying, reading my Bible and asking God to take away my fears and anxieties. I've reached out and asked people for prayer and have felt comforted in people praying for me and checking in on me. I'm still having chest pain and I do not know the cause.  I am seeing a cardiologist next week and feel anxious for answers.  It easily could be nothing, could be acid reflux unsolved, or it's probably unlikely but it could be something more serious.  

I have felt really tender this last month.  I've felt pursued by God, I've felt anxious and scared, I've felt thankful for the truth and love spoken to me, and I've felt excited because I know that God is working in me.  I'm resting in the truth that I serve a God who takes care me, who loves me and who chases after me.  
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January 8, 2018

Our Christmas

I'm a little late, but wanted to share the many Christmas pictures I have.  I just looked back at my post from last year and it amazing me how much and how fast things change when your kids are this little. Isaac was just a baby last year, and it was so fun to have two kids excited for Christmas this year! I know it will just keep getting more exciting for them and I love it!

We hadn't gotten much snow before Christmas, so nothing was on the ground, and it wasn't supposed to snow.  We were so happily surprised when it started snowing Christmas Eve morning.  It was beautiful and perfect.  Addi was so excited and wanted to take some pictures outside in the snow. I of course obliged.  

We went to church with my parents, my in laws and my sister and her family. I feel so very fortunate that all of our immediate family lives so close and that we get to celebrate with all of them over Christmas.  That evening we went to my parents for dinner and presents with them.  

I tried to take pictures and every single one of them was so blurry.  Five kids and presents and I guess that makes sense.  They were all so excited and it was so much fun.  We went home, and Addi sprinkled some reindeer food out, set out cookies for Santa and went to bed!

 The next morning our kids miraculously slept till 6:30 and we opened presents and spend a few hours in our living room playing with new toys.  Chris' parents and brother and his family came over for brunch and more presents with the cousins.  Later that night we went to Chris' parents house with some other family members for dinner.

 Addi's big present.  My dad built a dollhouse and I painted and decorated it.  I'll have to share more about it in another post!
  My sister took Addi and my niece to the dollar store to buy presents for our family and Addi immediately picked out a wine glass for me.  Guess she knows what I like.  ;) 

 We had such a wonderful Christmas.  I feel so thankful for our family and all that God has given us! Holidays with my family just keep getting better and better. 

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January 3, 2018

Making memories in the Kitchen

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

aprons: c/o minted 

Before having kids I loved baking. I always volunteered to bring a dessert and loved finding and making new recipes.  After having kids I still love to bake, but it looks just a little bit different! It's one of those things for me that even though it makes a mess and sometimes seems chaotic, it almost always feels worth it to me.

I love it even more in the winter because it is a good activity to pass the time when we're stuck at home.  Addi is at the age where she can help me read directions by telling me how many eggs are on the box, or what the number measurements say.  Isaac can help me put in muffin liners and pour in ingredients.  They both love stirring and yet another lesson to take turns.  Plus it always smells good and gives us a yummy treat to eat later!

I used to make most of my baking from scratch and now I hardly ever do that.  While I'm sure they aren't as good, using a premade mix is SO much easier and let's me handle doing it more often!

If the ingredients or the mixing take longer than Isaac's attention span, sometimes I'll put little snacks like cheerios or a few chocolate chips in the muffin tin and he'll spend time putting them in the muffin liners and then eating them.

We got these adorable aprons for the kids from Minted.  They say their names and I can't get over how adorable they are.  The kids love getting to wear them (especially Addilyn) and I love how they look hanging in our kitchen.  The neck can be adjusted and they tie in the back, so I think we will get years of use out of them.  (There are a ton of adorable prints to choose from.)

I just made a list of some resolutions for 2018 and baking more things from scratch is on my list! But for now we'll keep on baking away with our premade mixes and loving making memories with my kids in the kitchen!

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January 2, 2018

Addi says what

After I said "Man. Isaac you are a lot of work these days."  Addi says, "Yea. If I ask you for another baby again just ignore me."

"Today I got to be a lime leader and limed everybody up!"

"Dear God.  I wish Addi could do whatever she wants.  But she can not because she has a MOTHER. Who WILL NOT let her do whatever she wants again. (Sigh).  Amen."

"I love my mini little brother."

"Sometimes when we ask God to make our stomachs better he does.  And other times he doesn't and then we get to eat gelatin and Gatorade."  

"Isn't it so weird that a one year old is better at cleaning up than a four year old?"

After preschool one day, "ISAAC!!! My long lost brother!" 

I asked Addi to put her shoes on and she said, "Yes your majesty." 

"I miss Molly so much.  Good thing I still have Isaac to cuddle with." 

"I don't want to leave.  One.  Dot".  (She meant one bit.)

"I wish we had a movie theater in our basement.  But.  (sigh)  We just have a crawlspace."

"Isaac likes chicken and I like pasta. He's probably high in iron and I'm low on iron."

While watching the old batman movie, "I haven't seen the cat lady in her attire yet."  

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