Today is Your Day My Sweet Boy

Three years ago today…It was about 5am–9 days BEFORE you were scheduled for an early c-section. I felt different, so I stood up–and low and behold–you and my body informed me it was in fact time for you to come.

You entered the world on your own terms, fought issues like a prize fighter and got to come home when you were 7 days old.

We have literally NOT STOPPED since you entered our lives.

You are smart, funny, fiercely loyal. You are perfectly ok with independent play–or group play. You decided to not talk until you were over two years old, but once you started, well…you haven’t stopped.

You are my best buddy and give the best snuggles and sloppy kisses.

You are obsessed with technology, purses and glasses. OBSESSED. You have a “gank-et” that you must have nearly everywhere (translation: blanket).

You are so much fun to watch learning this world and where you fit into it. I hope you always keep this free, fun-loving spirit. It is inspiration for the rest of us that have a tendency to take life a little too seriously. You live and love in the  moment, and that’s the way we should all be. You remind us of that.

You are the light in my mind, body and soul and you drive me to be the best version of myself.

I love you more than anything and I look forward to watching you grow into a strong, handsome man. Keep us laughing my sweet boy.

Love you always and forever my Clay-Clay.

XOXO

Mama

Hang On Mama

This morning was a doozie. It started off somewhat calm, and normal, but quickly escalated into something that made me turn into Mama Monster, which then made me have extreme Mama Guilt for the rest of the morning.

I got hit with Mickey Mouse because no jackets fit (mind you, he was WEARING a fleece-so, yeah kid, your jackets aren’t going to fit over that). A temper tantrum then pursued–and all threats of discipline fell on deaf ears.

Of course, I’m thinking the entire time I’m throwing these threats around that this will actually punish ME more than HIM because I will be at home alone with him this afternoon and evening. Insert the beginning of Mama Guilt.

But the doozie wasn’t any of those things. The doozie was, when my little five year old was getting out of the car, I told him I loved him, as I do every morning. And you know what he did? He looked at me and said nothing. He said nothing! The door closed behind him and tears welled up in my eyes.

He didn’t say I love you back.

Talk about a Mama feeling like a failure moment.

When I was in my twenties and even when the hubby and I decided it was time to grow our family, no one could have told me how to prepare for these kinds of moments. No advice, no opinions, no experience could have prepared my heart for the hurt that moments like this fill in your mind, body and soul.

There are lots of moments like this–and I know there will be many more. I mean, I’m only just beginning.

So, here’s the thing.

I’ve been that mama that has left a cart in the store and carried a screaming child out. I have been that mama that has sat at iHop (because my little boy loves iHop and I was trying to treat him) crying into my pancakes, putting all the food (untouched) in to-go boxes and carrying two (TWO) screaming children out. I have stood in our church vestibule with two children crawling over my feet, misbehaving — at CHURCH–with no words to say to them. Only tears would come and only tears streamed down my cheeks. I have packed up literally EVERY SINGLE TOY in the play room and locked them in the attic.

I have felt like a failure.

Why do I write all of this?

Well, because I KNOW I am not alone. Because in all of those moments – something has occurred to show me I’m not alone. And I write this because, these words might just be what some Mama needs to read today. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

I have had a store employee walk quietly behind me and tell me not to worry about the cart–to take a deep breath and do whatever I needed to do to calm the crazy monster. I have had a family at the next table attempt to entertain my crazy monsters while a waitress helps me to box up the untouched food. I have had women walk up to me and simply HUG me–no words, just a hug–while tears are streaming down my face. I have had people walk calmly behind me and help me to pack up all the toys and place them in the attic.

And I KNOW why they do it. Because they’ve been there. They KNOW no words are going to help at that moment. They KNOW no advice, no opinions, nothing–but quiet action–are going to help settle your heart in that moment.

So hang on Mama. Tomorrow is a new day. And the little monsters may have decided to be tyrants this morning, and maybe into the evening…but the little monsters will also give you BIG KISSES, lay heads on your shoulder, tell you sweet dreams, because YOU are their Mama. And, no matter what they say or do, they LOVE YOU.

XOXO.

Mama Daze
When your mama spirit needs a lift

Diffuser Blend:

2 Drops Geranium, 3 Drops Grapefruit, 1 Drop Lime.

According to Reference Guide for EOs:

Geranium Properties can be antidepressant and a relaxant.

Grapefruit Properties can be antidepressant and a stimulant.

Lime can be restorative (and come on, just smells oh so good).

Lift your spirits with essential oils and find the rest of the day fall into place. I also apply topically to my heart, Joy – when inhaled brings back memories of being loved and cherished. I apply topically to my wrists and neck, Stress Away -which is a blend formulated to help relieve everyday stresses and tensions so you can live a healthier and happier life, and finally, I apply Progessence Plus to my upper arms because, let’s be honest, maybe sometimes the fault of tension does not lie on the Little Monsters, but instead, on Mama’s hormones.

40 Days – A Whole Lotta Days…

So, I’m back! I was very misguided in my belief that I could do things, like blog, while the boys were out on Spring Break. They are so full of energy and life–and demand every second of the day to be filled with some sort of activity. And when they are FINALLY resting–I found myself exhausted and resting with them. But we had fun and made a whole lotta memories. So-my blog could be set aside and I was ok with that. They’re only this little once and seeing the world through their eyes is a blessing in itself.

So–I’ve been keeping up with my Lenten study, just not posting it here. I’m going to give you a couple of snippets that are certainly worth a thought. Summary from Best Lent Ever, Days 28-35:

  1. Why do we complicate things in our lives? We ALL have a tendency to make things a lot more complicated than they have to be. But there IS a way to simplify things: LOVE. Love rearranges our priorities and helps us to get clear about what we want.
  2. Decision Making. Life is nothing but choices. All day, every day. Simplify your life–live it for an audience of one (Him). You’ll all of a sudden find that choices aren’t that hard to make. Look at your motives for your decisions (especially if you are struggling to make one).
  3. Give until it hurts. If you’re reading this thinking “I have nothing to give,” I want you to pinch yourself real quick. Because THAT IS NOT TRUE. We all have so much to give, be it treasure, time or talent. And what you have IS a gift from God–so there is a great joy in offering it back to Him. “Live simply so others may simply live.” -Teresa of Calcutta
  4. What is your mission? God made YOU for a mission. What is it? I’m personally getting there–being able to put my finger on exactly He wants me to do in this world. Great things happen when your talents and passions meet the world’s and other people’s needs. So I’m trying to be quiet, to listen to Him and to go to where He is calling me.
  5. Find Yourself. The surest way to find yourself is to stay exactly where you are. Weird, huh? But…you are exactly where you are right now for a reason. Take time to serve. Do small things and do them full of love. Great love. Be the difference that makes a difference in this world. My tea this morning said this, “Life is a flow of love; your participation is requested.”
  6. Focus on what you are here to give. What will your contribution be? In the circle of life, the fact is you must contribute or perish. It is that way with all species, big or small. Contribute or perish. Find your mission, find yourself, and then give it all as big, and as full of love as you can.
  7. Don’t worry. Worrying takes us out of the NOW and we’re supposed to be living in the NOW. Because that is where He is. He does not worry about yesterday or tomorrow. He is in the now–and wants you there with Him. Do yourself a favor and read Matthew 6:25-34.
  8. There are no problems. Just lessons and solutions. Every difficulty, no matter how great or small, is an opportunity to grow. To grow in virtue. To grow in character. To become a better-version-of-yourself. Every difficulty is actually a blessing to you–though you may not see it at the time. Problems are opportunities to build your character.

DAY 35: JOY and GRATITUDE

So–some of you may be reading this thinking–what is this blog all about? Well, to be honest, it is a mom blog. As soon as Easter hits, the posts will be about being a mom and a wife. And some posts about essential oils. And some will be about finding balance in this tipsy topsy world. And some of my posts will be teeny tiny short. Some will be long winded. Some will be silly. Some will be sad. I just know that they will all provide you a window in the our little world and maybe hopefully make you feel better about your own little world. Because THIS little world, we are raising little monsters. They are sweet sometimes, they are horrid other times. But they are ours and we love them, growls and all.

Here are the rest of the pictures from our Spring Break. It was sooooo much fun, but I seriously need a vacation from our vacation. (Because there is no such thing as a vacation with a five and two year old…let’s be real).

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Little man sat here for hours waiting for his “Rie Rie.” He was ready to read to her.
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Shooting pool with the guys.
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These little guys are ready to get in on all the big boy action. Hang on, little ones…your time will come.
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The fellas pre-parade.
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Two of my very favorite gals–I’m so glad I get to call them family.
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I think we wore him out. 
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Doing Aunt Amanda’s hair. She’s a good soul.
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Breakfast at Camellia Grill. Side note: if you want to go here, go at 10:30 on a Monday. We walked right in, were served in less than 3 minutes and out by 11. (If you’re unfamiliar with this place, it’s a famous breakfast dive in Uptown New Orleans, where people will wait in line for HOURS to get a seat)
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Tourist time! We visited the Aquarium!

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Hi penguin!
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Hurricane wind tunnel…
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Petting sting rays
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The White Gator…who apparently looks neon green in this light…
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I wish my bedroom looked like this. So serene and peaceful.
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We must find the shark. 

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Lunch in the French Market.
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Cheese!
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Mommy escaped for a quick dinner with her friend, Amanda.
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He looks like Key Boy. 
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Tourist Day #2 – The Audubon Zoo!
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“And they all axed for you!”
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Trying to capture pictures of these four can be a bit trying at times…

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You can’t go to NOLA without a Hansen’s Snoball stop 

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We’re home and …
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When your mantra is “Follow your Joy” it only makes sense that your #favoriteoil is Joy. I apply this over my heart every morning and repeat to myself “follow your joy.” It gives me a good, positive energy to start the day.
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We invited our cousin, Mac, over to spend the night. This was J Man’s first sleepover at his own house–so we had to go big. Movie baskets filled with treats.
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Decorating pillow cases.

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And we couldn’t leave out Beck, even though he is too little for sleepovers…
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Popcorn time!
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They’re in there somewhere. We put up the tent in the playroom so the boys could “camp” and watch movies at the same time!
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This guy is awesome. Just truly awesome. 
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Doing some reading on my gorgeous deck on a gorgeous Spring day.
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Clay thought that was a good idea, so he came to join me.

40 Days – Day 26

Are you free? Maybe more important than that, what aren’t you free from? Because we’re all not free from something. And you know what? It might just be your morning cup of coffee. That might be your thing—that you’re not free from your morning cup of coffee. But God wants you free, he wants you completely free, he wants you totally free so that you can live life to the fullest.” –Best Lent Ever, Matthew Kelly

Yesterday, I made up my mind that starting next week, I am making a lot of changes. I’ve been there physically, it’s been a mental block that has been getting me to take that final step into a complete transformation. But yesterday, as sure as anything, the thought came, “I’m going to do it.”

I bet you’re asking why next week? Why not start now? Well, I’ll be PERFECTLY honest. I’m going to a family gathering (and we don’t have a small family) for the next week and I want to truly enjoy my time with them, rather than constantly focusing on denying myself. I want to be completely in the moment with them, no distractions. So, I made the decision to wait until I return home and am able to focus completely on that.

Fasting or denying yourself something (time, food, drink, whatever it may be), is the best way to become free. To squash those appetites that are controlling you. Fasting in small ways every day is a simple, sure path to self-mastery. So, I will do this–because I truly WANT to do this. I’m going to establish a habit of fasting. I’m going to deny myself in small ways throughout the day, fasting from certain types of foods, certain activities, and certain behaviors. Will you join me?

Day 26: JOY and GRATITUDEnew beginningsOh what a beautiful, joyous day it is!! This morning, my baby sister welcomed her son into this big, bright, beautiful world. And my heart is singing! I love new beginnings. I love watching life blossom into beautiful, strong people. I love loving on my nieces and nephews and I love watching my boys love on their cousins.

I will post a picture of our beautiful baby Beck later down the road. I want to give my sister her privacy and let her share him with the world first.

But know that today I am full to the brim of JOY and GRATITUDE. Today, I became an aunt to an amazing little soul and I can’t wait to watch him grow to be an amazing, kind and loving man.

XOXO.

The Raff Week in Review

Wild. Crazy. Busy. Fun. Chaotic. Frustrating. You know, the usual routine. Throw Springing Forward in there just for the fun of it…but silver lining–LONGER DAYS! Woo hoo!!!

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So, last Sunday I was down for the count. I pinched a nerve or pulled a muscle or something miserable in my back. I could hardly move. I fought it ALL week. THANK GOODNESS for Deep Relief, Panaway and Cool Azul. I could feel immediate release when I put it on. AHHHHH!!!
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Get you some Ningxia Red (and all those antibodies) you little man, you!
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When your working hard to hit big goals, you got to break out the big guns. Abundance, FulFill the Destiny, Highest Potential and Believe. All are amazing oils to get your mind in a state to accomplish and achieve and to have complete confidence that you can do what you set out to do.
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I had two buddies at Friday’s All School Mass. It makes my heart so happy to see them so excited to see me!
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SO…I did a thing. I showed you the starting point last week. On Friday, I blocked out the day and was determined to get it finished. I am absolutely IN LOVE with this space. Lots of meditating and book reading in my future while the weather is not sweltering hot. 
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Finally hung these lights. Have had them for nearly three years…
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Day time light–and Clay Clay checking out the finished look. He says “it’s pretty.” J Man told me it’s “epic.”
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THIS requires no caption.
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Dads doing their dad thing…in matching shirts.
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Soccer started back up. J Man did a much better job when he was told to sit out. (During the Fall he thought he needed to play ALWAYS. We did a lot of talking about teamwork and sharing play time). He scored three of the four goals that his team scored. He looked AWESOME on that field!
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Don’t let this fool you. This is him resting after he ran into the middle of not one but FOUR different soccer games because he “wanted to play.” Good thing this is kindy soccer and all the parents are really laid back.
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And we let this happen. It was a disaster. NEVER AGAIN. But…the boys had fun.
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My 9 month pregnant sister REALLY wanted a Strawberry Chocolate Mousse cake so…I made her one. It was GOOD. You can get the recipe here
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Clay wanted him to play Headbanz. Like really bad. Here, he’s telling me “No Facebook.” Ok, sweet hubby. No Facebook. I promise. (he never said anything about the blog…)
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Our very dear friend, Lilly, turned 6! We went to the zoo to celebrate her birthday. J Man was in heaven because he was with all his besties. Clay was in heaven because he was with the animals. 

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So, Saturday, March 17 is the New Moon. I don’t specialize in this–but am so very fascinated with numerology, astrology, and all things universal–and especially how you can spiritually interpret the cosmos. My dear, dear friend DOES specialize in it–so if you’re ever interested in diving deeper into these amazing things–you should check her out! I’ll do a post about the Pisces New Moon sometime this week–and what YOU can do to prepare for it. 
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Oils are about so much more than promoting wellness and supporting your physical systems. This is the year anniversary of when my life situations SNOWBALLED out of control, to the point I felt like I was drowning. I will go into more detail on this picture later this week–but just know–there is amazing emotional support when using essential oils. 

She’s just too cute not to share again. She will be with us in one month and four days. Not that anyone is counting or anything.

Leave with today’s gospel (it’s a famous one!): John 3:14-21. “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” 16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

He LOVES us!!

40 Days – Day 21

LIVE what YOU believe.

Sit down. Write your affirmations–center those affirmations around what you believe. Then put those affirmations EVERYWHERE. Your mirrors, your car, your desk at work, your kitchen. Put them where you can see them all day, every day.

We ALL have beliefs. We ALL believe in things. One might say “well, an atheist doesn’t believe in God.” Right, he doesn’t. But he BELIEVES that there is no God. And so, as Matthew Kelly kindly points out today, there is belief in EVERYTHING. And we ALL have them.

“What creates the split in us, what creates the divided life that we’ve been talking about and reading about in Perfectly Yourself, is when we start to live separate from our beliefs. When we separate our actions from our beliefs, it’s a recipe for disaster. When we separate our actions from what we believe, it’s a recipe for unhappiness. It’s a recipe for misery in many, many different forms.

And so the great challenge of our day to day living is to align those beliefs with our actions. Don’t believe one thing and then do something entirely different. That divides you–and you are striving to become that authentic, best-version-of-yourself.

So, today, sit down and write out your beliefs (I did a lot of them yesterday, so yippee, I’m a step ahead!). Then create affirmations to force you into action to LIVE those beliefs. Also, take the time to pray or meditate specifically on these beliefs. Train your mind to act on them. You’ll be oh so happy you did!

DAY 21: JOY and GRATITUDE

Oh how I love Fridays! I work hours and hours Monday-Thursday so I can set Friday aside to do things I love to do. Today, I’m giving my safe haven (my back deck) a bit of a makeover. This is my favorite place in the world. I’m sitting high in the trees, with the view of Chenal Valley (for those of you that don’t know–it is a gorgeous area of my city that is still plentiful in forests and wildlife). I grab a book or a devotional and I just relax. But, it is in dire need of some TLC, so today, I’m going to do that. And that just makes me giddy.

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I also love Fridays because I get to go to church with my J Man. I love starting my day with him snuggling up to me and listening to Monsignor address all the precious hearts at J’s school. It just brings a huge smile to my face.

I ALSO love Fridays because I go and pick up J Man early and we do things just the two of us. It is OUR time. His little brother is so demanding, that J sometimes unintentionally gets overlooked. So I love that the two of us have this time together. Where is is the CENTER of my attention. You can see his joy in his eyes and smile. And I love that. I’m so thankful I can give him that joy. Makes this mama heart so very happy.

40 Days – Day 20

Your conscious. That gut feeling. That instinct.

It’s a God given gift to help guide you through this journey of life. Think about the times you slowed down to listen to what your conscious was telling you. Did you listen to it? Do you regret listening to it? I’m willing to bet that if you slowed down and actually listened, and then acted on that voice–you don’t regret the decision you made. Why? Phillipians 4:19 tells us “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” God gifted us with our conscious so that we can become the best-versions-of-ourselves. And we are striving to become the best version, God is meeting our needs. Jesus is giving us His salvation. And that is glorious.

Strive to live an authentic life. Become undivided. Become YOU. The gifts and treasures that await you are so profound you can even imagine them. Today, Matthew Kelly poses this: “You want to live an authentic life? Start listening to your conscience. The more you listen to it, the stronger it gets. The more you obey it, the more you live with it, the more you partner with it, collaborate with it, the stronger it gets. And the stronger it gets, the easier it is to hear.

To live an authentic life, to know you’re living an authentic life, to know that you’re doing your best—not that you’re perfect, but to know that you are working very, very hard to live an authentic life—is an amazing thing. And it’s a reward unto itself.”

So, each day, take a step back from the crazy, nonstop, loud world, and enter the classroom of silence. Your conscious is there waiting for you.If you do nothing else in this lifetime, learn to listen to the gentle voice within you. It is backed by your beliefs, and your beliefs give your life perspective and guidance. What do you believe?

I believe that my God is an awesome God. He does not break his promises.

I believe that I am abundantly blessed in family and friends.

I believe that it is my job to raise my little monsters to be the very best-versions-of-themselves that I can. They are only on loan to me from our Maker and I need to do the best I can with these precious gifts He has bestowed upon me.

I believe a smile and a kind word or action go a long, long way.

I believe that I am truly meant to be happy and get the very best from this life.

I believe that deep down, this world is a truly good place and that everyone just wants to be loved and accepted.

I believe our Church is the center of our foundation, the base of our connection with Jesus.

I believe that working hard results in playing hard, and there is nothing more perfect than that.

Day 20: JOY and GRATITUDE

So. I’m a boy mom. Every living thing in this house is a boy, including my dog. I’m severely outnumbered.

But come April, I get to bring a princess into our family. I am so very excited and I cannot wait to give this baby all the puppy snuggles and kisses she deserves.

Meet Peyton Rhey. Finally, I won’t be the ONLY girl in this house of crazy!

XOXO.