Asher Wade at Four(!!!) Years Old

O.M.Geee. I absolutely cannot believe I have a 4 year old. Like, cannot believe it. These four years have absolutely flown by, and while they certainly haven’t always been easy, they have been wonderful and full of so much laughter and fun. And love. Lately I have really been reflecting on how much is about to change when Baby Boy #2 arrives, and I’m not going to lie, it’s been emotional for me. I just think about how for four years now it’s been just the three of us…the three musketeers. Mine and Matt’s world is about to be rocked for sure, but I don’t think it will be rocked as much as Asher Wade’s. Our family dynamic is about to experience a huge shift, and while this new baby boy is such an incredible blessing and addition to our family, and I know God’s timing is ALWAYS perfect, I can’t help but feel a little sad for what we are going to lose, or what I feel like Asher Wade is going to lose. I hope that doesn’t sound terrible, and bear with me as I’m sure I’m riding a hormonal and emotional roller coaster right now thanks to pregnancy and my first born turning another year older. I guess I’m just mourning the impending loss of my first “baby” in more ways than one. Anywho. That’s probably another hormonal post for another day; one that I’m sure I will write as we get even closer to BB2’s arrival. Right now it’s all about our big 4 year old!

Asher Wade, at 4 years old, here’s what’s going on with you…

 I’ve been saying this since the day you were born, but lawd you are still ALL BOY. You never slow down and I’m convinced you’d survive off 6 hours of sleep, although we do our best to make you get 10’ish. Like your mama, you are NOT a morning person and are very crabby until you have fully woken up and had your milk. You like to just chill and watch TV and not talk to anyone for at least 15 minutes. Once you fully wake-up though, you are going 90 miles per minute, all day long. You love to climb and jump and are quite the daredevil. You aren’t scared of much other than bugs. You are completely terrified of all creepy crawlers. Otherwise you love pretty much all animals. Cody gets on your nerves and we are constantly separating the two of you. He just loves you so much and always wants to play, but you are generally annoyed by him. You like Maddux since he pretty much just lays in his bed all day. You love Annie as well, and I swear she is the most patient cat on the planet considering how she lets you carry her around, often upside down or by the neck. I’m glad you have a soft spot for animals because you will likely always have them around you.

You can be somewhat of a homebody and you love to play with your toys up in your room. You love all of your toys, especially your Roadster Racer Mickey, Paw Patrol Mission RV and Patroller and Blaze Monster Truck. You’ve gotten into board games lately like Chutes and Ladders (although you do not like it when you don’t win), and you still love to read books. You love to play hide n’ seek and tag. Your favorite color is still blue. Favorite TV shows are Mickey and the Roadster Racers (this is the kind of birthday cake you requested this year), The Lion Guard, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Paw Patrol and Bubble Guppies. You loves movies, and lately it has been Toy Story (all of them) and Moana. Oh, and you will ALWAYS watch Cars given the opportunity. You cannot WAIT for Cars 3 to come out this summer. You also love to be outside, much like your mama. Whenever it’s raining you look forlornly out the window and comment how sad you are that you won’t be able to play outside today. You love to ride your bike and scooter, or just investigate around the yard. You like to dig in the dirt, jump in puddles and get muddy. I hate when it rains because I know you will inevitably come home with muddy shoes and pants. You love to go to the playground or any sort of park. You are so inquisitive and you love to investigate. Lately you are really into “fixing things” and “working” as you call it. You use your little tool box and tools that PawPaw got you for Christmas and “fix” your bike and your toys. You always want to help, which I have to remember to be patient about.

Your favorite foods are hot dogs, mac n’ cheese, yogurt, Clif Bars (the kid sized versions), string cheese, grilled cheese, bagels with cream cheese, Chikfila, fruit, pretzels, scrambled eggs, waffles and PB&J. For treats you like marshmallows, popsicles, pieces of chocolate and vanilla ice cream with M&M’s. You pretty much just drink milk and water, and the occasional apple juice or Sprite if we’re at a restaurant. You’re still pretty picky, although it has gotten better. Basically we make you sit at the table until you finish, and at least try new foods. You have slimmed down so much and hardly have any of that cute baby fat anymore. You used to always wear a full size up in clothing, but now you are right on par. For the most part you are in a size 4t, with some 5t’s mixed in. You weigh around 45 pounds and are about 3-1/2 feet tall. You are still incredibly healthy and it is very unusual for you to get sick. You actually came down with some nasty croup like symptoms over the weekend and had to miss school yesterday, I honestly think that is the first day you have missed due to sickness this entire school year. Even if you come down with a cold, you get over it really fast. I am so thankful you are so healthy, especially considering how much I stress about you not eating enough veggies or getting enough vitamins.

You can be a little shy at first, but you warm up within minutes. You aren’t crazy about grown-ups, but you adore your little friends. You say your best friends from school are Scout and Porter (although you guys fight like cats and dogs sometimes) and your best friends at church are Heidi, Harlow and Hudson. You love to have friends over and Thursday night small group is one of the highlights of your week since some of your friends come over to play while the grown-ups do their lesson. You are constantly asking if your teacher, Mrs. Dunmore, can come over to play;) You like to pray for your friends and teachers every night, and usually you throw in one other random request. Last night you wanted to pray that your birthday cake arrived safely from Kentucky, lol! Daddy or I usually help you say your prayers, but lately you have done it all by yourself a couple of times and I always have to hold back tears as I listen to your heartfelt requests. You have such a sweet and genuine heart, and that is a trait I am so proud of and hope you never lose. You are still very loving and will regularly bury your head in my chest and say “I love you SO MUCH mommy.” You like for me to tell you that “you’re my favorite little boy.” Not sure how I am going to handle this when your baby brother gets here;) Overall, you seem excited about getting a baby brother. You are always patting my belly and asking me if I feel OK. Your buddies are fascinated by my big belly and you proudly inform them that your baby brother is in there, getting big and strong, and he’s going to pop out real soon:-)

Some of your biggest strengths are your intelligence, your leadership, your athleticism, your desire to help others (especially kids that are smaller than you), your empathy, your persistency, your energy and your excitement about life in general. Your teachers are always commenting how you have so much passion and just generally love really big. They also comment on your intelligence a lot. You’re the type that completely surprises us with what you know and recall. You’ll do things out of nowhere that we didn’t even know you could do. You have a crazy good memory and don’t forget anything. Some of the struggles we have with you are also related to your persistency, high energy and leadership. You don’t like to sit still, ever, which is obviously problematic when you’re in situations where you have to sit still, like preschool or Sunday school. Your persistency means you are often hard headed and defiant when you don’t get your way. You don’t give in easily. Your leadership means you are very competitive and you want to be in charge, or as you call it, be the “leader.” You always want to win and get pretty upset when you don’t. Your competitiveness has gotten you in trouble a few times at school. Just last week you punched a kid after he told you that you weren’t as fast as him. Aye aye aye. A common goal of mine and your dad’s is to reign in some of those qualities without squashing them, since we know they can have some benefits, especially as you get older. You have a little bit of a temper, and while you don’t have a lot of temper tantrums per se, you get really upset if you don’t get your way, or if things don’t go how you had planned. We are working on how to get you to control your emotions and not act out. We haven’t quite figured out the best discipline for you yet, but it seems to be taking things away, like favorite toys, or removing you from situations. You don’t like to miss out on fun things. Usually a threat to call Daddy works too;) For rewards you LOVE to go to Target and pick out a toy. We have a “good behavior sticker chart” on the fridge and whenever the chart is filled, you get to pick out a new toy. Before the first sticker even goes on the chart you’ve already decided what you want, and it’s all you talk about until your chart is filled and you get your prize.

Asher Wade, I am so proud to be your mama. I thank God everyday for entrusting your daddy and I with you, and I only hope we help shape you into the person God has designed you to be. You are an amazing little boy, and you can go on to do amazing things. You just have to trust God, listen closely and walk the path that He has laid out for you. I want you to know God, trust God, and love Him with all your heart. If you do those three things, you will always be fulfilled, and I will consider my job as a parent successful. I know how much you like to lead and win, but remember, following God is how you will ultimately win. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

BIG News!!!

So it’s no secret that I’ve been a little M.I.A. on here over the last couple of months. Whenever I have some big news I tend to hold back from a lot of social media, including blogging, because I’m always afraid I’ll slip-up somehow or post something that gives it away. I know that’s totally unlikely, but you know when you’re keeping a secret and you’d rather not take the chance of inadvertently disclosing it, so you avoid all forms of socialization? That may be a little dramatic, but you get my drift.

Anyways. Back to the big news….

I’m pregnant! With another baby BOY! My due date was originally 8/11, but I’ve been measuring about a week ahead, so now we’re looking at 8/4. That puts me at around 15 weeks this Friday. Everything looks great and I have a healthy, strong baby boy growing inside me, and for that we are so thankful. Since I’m 35 (and considered “old” as far as pregnancy goes) I knew there were some added risks, so it was a relief to hear that everything looked perfect. It was recommended that I do that Harmony testing to check for any abnormalities, and it also checks for a Y chromosome in case you’d like to know the gender. So we were able to find out the gender at 12 weeks, which was pretty cool. Can’t believe we are going to have TWO little boys running around our house!

Answers to the usual questions:

Were you guys trying? We weren’t being “intentional” like we were with Asher Wade (tracking my cycle and whatnot), but we also weren’t being “careful.” I stopped taking the pill in September and had a positive pregnancy test around the first few days of December.

I thought y’all were only going to have one kid?! Honestly, we weren’t sure whether we’d have another kid or not, even though deep down I knew I probably wanted one. I couldn’t imagine not having another, going through pregnancy and delivery again….it’s all just so magical. Still though, we were pretty content with Asher Wade and our family dynamic and had never really made a decision one way or the other. Suddenly though I had this strong desire to have another baby. Kind of like when I just “knew” I was ready the first time. I brought this up to Matt one day and he said he felt the same way. So it was definitely meant to be.

How did you find out? I was actually at Orangetheory at lunchtime one day and something just felt off. The workouts are always challenging, but this day felt especially difficult, and I felt very lethargic. My cycle isn’t always 28 days, so even though I was 1 or 2 days late, that wasn’t unusual. Still though, I just knew something was off. As soon as I left Orangetheory I stopped at CVS and picked up a pregnancy test. I drove back to work and promptly took the test in the bathroom stall. That positive sign popped up in literally 5 seconds, clear as day. I took a picture of it and texted it to Matt. Needless to say he was a little shocked to see that text message come through;)

How have you been feeling? Eh. December and January were pretty rough. I was so queasy throughout most of that time. Thankfully I was off work a lot due to the holidays, but there were several days where I just counted the minutes until I could get home to the couch. The weird thing is I never actually threw up. Not once. But I felt like I was going to 24/7, which is sometimes even worse. And then there’s the general exhaustion and tiredness. There were so many nights where I’d come home from work and not leave the couch until I relocated to our bed. I appear to have turned a corner over the last week or so, thankfully, and I’m hoping to have a smoother ride going forward.

Is this pregnancy different from your first? YES! So different. I didn’t really feel sick the first time and I honestly remember thinking I felt even better pregnant than I did not pregnant. I remember telling people all the time during my first pregnancy that I would totally be pregnant for the rest of my life, lol. Not so much this time. Besides the aforementioned nausea, I just don’t feel great in general. I’ve had headaches, and a lot of pressure and discomfort in my belly. Sleep is already a challenge and I’m barely in my second trimester. I’m much more tired, but then again, I have A LOT more going on this pregnancy because I have another child to tend to. Not to mention I’m almost 5 years older. I’ve been so itchy as well, which is random. Then there’s this belly. Right now my 14 week bump is about the size of my 20 week bump with Asher Wade. I started showing so early this go around, which I know is normal, but it still shocked me. No complaint there though….I LOVE this sweet baby bump. So overall, it has just been a very different pregnancy. I don’t mean to sound negative…just being honest. Doesn’t change the fact that I am SO THANKFUL and beyond excited for this new little life.

Did you want a boy or girl? I really didn’t have a strong preference one way or the other. I wanted a girl for silly reasons like buying little girl clothes and decorating a girly nursery and just for something different, but I also wanted another boy because I know what to expect and we already have so much “boy stuff” and I honestly just love being a “boy mom.” I had no idea how much I would love having a little boy until AW came along. He completely stole my heart a million times over, and I have no doubt this new baby boy will do the same thing.

How did Asher Wade react to the news? I’m still not entirely sure how much he actually “gets it.” He calls the baby “mommy’s friend in her belly” and he’s finally starting to understand that he has to be careful around my belly. When I picked him up from school yesterday one of the teachers told me that he had informed everyone that he was getting a baby brother, so obviously he understands a little. He has been very clear that he wants a baby brother. We took him to one of the OB visits and he was fascinated with the ultrasound and watching the baby bounce all around. He got upset when the tech moved the wand and the baby went out of view. Overall, I’d say he’s been rather agnostic about the whole thing, but at least he’s not bitter;)

I’ll be doing regular updates throughout the pregnancy like I did with Asher Wade, so definitely check back for those (probably every other Friday). I’ve been writing posts and saving them in draft form ever since I found out I was pregnant, and I just made them public, so feel free to check them out here, here, here and here.

We had these precious pictures taken this past weekend in anticipation of our big announcement and I just love how they came out. I ordered this sign (in digital format) from a cute shop on Etsy called Coconut Designs and had it printed with a foam backing at FedEx. I love the Valentine’s Day theme. You wouldn’t know it by looking at the pictures, but Asher Wade was a total turd that day and we almost didn’t think we’d get any shots, but thankfully he came around right before we were about to pack it up and call it a day. I just love his sweet smile and spirit.

Pregnancy #2 Journal: 12 Weeks

Due date: August 11, 2017
How far along: 12 weeks
Size of baby: a large plum…one of my favorite fruits:)
Weight gain: overall around 3 pounds
Maternity clothes: I’m still able to rock my looser fitting clothing (mainly tunics and leggings), but I’m basically just wearing that stuff in an effort to hide my bump at work. As soon as I make my announcement to my immediate team (probably tomorrow), I’m going to stop worrying about trying to conceal the bump and embrace it instead! I’ve pulled all of my maternity clothes out of bins and I’m ready to finally feel comfortable. I’m kind of over using a hair tie to close the button on my jeans;)
Movement: Lots of flutters and swooshes and what feels likes swimming in my belly, especially at night. I didn’t feel anything with Asher Wade until around week 16, but I’ve been feeling all kinds of things this go around for a couple of weeks now. No idea if it’s actually the baby swimming laps in there, or just some gas and other stomach stuff. During our ultrasound today that little peanut was moving nonstop.
Sleep: For the love. Why am I already having such a hard time?! I fall asleep pretty quickly, but I almost always wake up around 4 and can’t get back to sleep. I’m really struggling with staying off my back and I know I need to start being careful about that. I think I’ll have to order some sort of pregnancy pillow that will help me stay on my side.
Cravings: Still somewhat limited in what I can/want to eat, but I do find myself craving certain things, like chocolate (I got a Milky Way out of the vending machine yesterday, which is something I would normally never do, but it just sounded so dang good), birthday cake (lol!), McDonald’s strawberry milkshakes, fruity candy like Skittles or as of late those Sweet Tart gummy hearts that come out around Valentines Day, pizza, sandwiches (Tofurkey and Swiss has been my jam, and I also still crave tuna fish salad), Mexican food, crackers and chips, especially Baked Cheetos.
Symptoms: My nausea has gotten better during the day, but it gets bad starting around 4:00 every afternoon and gets progressively more uncomfortable as the night goes on. Coupled with being so tired when I get home in the evenings, I often just lay on the couch until relocating to our bed. I feel bad because I normally enjoy playing with Asher Wade or taking a family walk with the pups, but I literally just feel like I have zero energy and it’s all I can do not to close my eyes. I remember this getting better in the second trimester with my first pregnancy, so hopefully I’ll turn a corner soon. Otherwise, I’m pretty good during the day and have been able to keep up my exercising as long as I do it by lunch time. I’m still really gassy and get bloated easily, but again, hoping that will ease up soon.
What I miss: Consistent sleep and feeling like myself. Totally vain, I know, but I also miss being able to use all of my Rodan + Fields products (retinol isn’t recommended during pregnancy).
What I’m looking forward to: Finding out the sex! I had all the testing done today and now we are just waiting on results. We are planning to do a little gender reveal with some cupcakes for just Matt, Asher Wade and me, and then we will officially make this pregnancy public around Valentine’s Day!
Best moment of the week: The ultrasound today and seeing our wiggly little peanut, bee-bopping all over the place. Heart rate was strong and everything looked great! Feels good to get to that 12-week mark and I can’t believe I’ll be entering my second trimester!
Thoughts on pregnancy: While I haven’t been near as paranoid as I was when pregnant with Asher Wade, I’ve found myself being a little more cautious lately. I was really happy to finally make it to the 12-week mark and have our doctor appointment today, and I hope my anxiety and fears start letting up a little now. I’m anxious to get all those test results, but again, that’s kind of my personality. I’m still a lot less anxious this go around as compared to my first. I’ve also found myself starting to take it easier at the gym and really being careful not to push too hard. I know how important it is to listen to my body. However, I’m determined to keep up my workouts. With my first pregnancy I pretty much just walked, but this time I am doing Orangetheory and more high intense exercise in general. I’m curious to see if I reap any benefit from this during delivery/recovery.
In other news, I am already so in love with this new little peanut! It’s so amazing how quickly you bond. I am fiercely protective already and I just feel this surge of love every time I touch my belly. As difficult as pregnancy can sometimes be, it’s truly incredible to have this life growing inside of me. It’s just such a miracle.
We’ve been so bad about taking bump pictures, but here’s one I snapped in the bathroom at work…
And our 12 week ultrasound picture… 

10 Things Learned in 10 Years of Marriage

Today Matt and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary!  This is so surreal to me. Time really has gone by so fast, especially since having Asher Wade. It seems not so long ago that we were enjoying our gorgeous wedding, and so much of the following months and years seem like such a blur, but then there were also some very challenging seasons that seemed to drag forever. Marriage is definitely full of seasons. The good ones go by so fast, and the more difficult ones take their time. Life is kind of like that in general, wouldn’t you say? Still though, we have weathered through some things and have stayed strong and happy and in love, and that’s all that matters to me. God has blessed us no doubt, and He’s carried us through everything and allowed us to rejoice in so much. I’m so thankful for this life I’ve built with Matt and this family we are growing, and I hope I always remember not to take a single day for granted.

A few years back I did a similar post titled “8 Things Learned in 8 Years of Marriage,” so rather than reinvent the wheel I thought I’d include those 8 things (maybe with a few updates) and then add 2 more. It’s safe to say I’ve definitely learned at least 2 new things since then;)

1. A lot of it. Very early on I thought this was a total cliche…something people just said. Let me tell you…there is nothing truer. In fact, now I firmly believe that if you aren’t working at your marriage, you’re slowing killing it. I don’t think neither Matt nor I believed this for the first few years. Maybe not even until we had a kid. Now that we have to put so much time, effort and energy in to raising a child, our marriage doesn’t naturally receive the attention like it used to. We have to consciously give it attention. The outcome is definitely worth the effort though.

2. You are going to annoy the heck out of each other. The things that were once endearing, are going to become like nails on a chalkboard. They will do things that drive you batty. Guess what though? You are equally as annoying in some way or another. No one is perfect, and to some extent, we’re all challenging to live with. Learn to accept it and move on. When it gets to where you are constantly focused on the imperfections, remind yourself that they were perfect in your eyes at some point. You don’t focus on the negative things during the early part of dating…you only see the good things. Although they were seemingly perfect during that googly-eyed dating phase, imperfections will reveal themselves a few years down the road, on both sides, but in reality there is no such thing as a perfect person. If you keep letting imperfections rule your thoughts, you’ll never be happy. Learn to accept, just as you have been accepted.

3. If you think the grass is greener on the other side, it’s only that way because they water it more. Instead of hopping the fence to greener pastures, maybe just water your own pasture a little more.

4. Marriage has no room for pride. This is hands down the hardest concept for us to grasp. Pride gets in our way more than anything else and most of the fights we’ve had have stemmed from one of us (usually both) being prideful. A lot can be said for being vulnerable and saying sorry. Chances are that it will completely change the mood and the other person will in turn apologize. The bottom line is that someone has to go first, so just be that person and quit agonizing over it. (Something else that our pastor recently said that really struck a chord with me was how the word “I” will be the biggest struggle you’ll ever face in marriage. Meaning that the biggest challenge is learning to put your spouse’s needs and desires before your own. It’s human nature to want to get your way, and it’s so difficult to set aside your own agenda to serve the needs and wants of another, but it really is such a crucial key to a successful marriage…something that we are still working on.)

5. If “Marriage” was a job listed in the classifieds it wouldn’t require any skills upon hire. This is because you learn on the job. It’s the most on-the-job-training you’ll ever get. The best thing you can do is go in eager and ready to learn. When things get tough, that means it’s time to learn some new skills. Just think of your current job – when a new challenge presents itself you don’t just clock out and say “yeah, that’s too hard.” No, you’d figure out what you need to do to accomplish this new task. Marriage has to be the same to be successful.

6. Criticism and requests for change are not the same thing. Learn how to differentiate between the two, and more importantly, learn how to express the two. You can get way more bang for your buck if you learn how to ask for things in a positive and encouraging way. Criticism just leads to hurt feelings, anger and resentment. Learn how to ask for what you want in a way that makes the other person want to give it to you, without being manipulative or critical.

7. If you feel the need to start a sentence with “I don’t mean to be rude/offensive/disrespectful…” you are going to come across as being exactly that, so maybe just don’t say it. Same goes for, “I’m not sure that I should say this, but….” Close your mouth. Take a step away from the situation and think it through. I have learned the hard way (as both a deliverer and receiver) that words can cut like a knife. They don’t just go away either, and they can be remembered for a long time. Choose your words carefully.

8. You need God in the center. Period. I don’t know how people make it work without God in their marriage, or some common ground and shared faith. I’m not saying that if you’re not in church together every single Sunday you aren’t going to make it. I’m just saying you have to have something to fall back on to remind you of the commitment you made, and remind you of the values and morals you share. Whenever we’ve hit a rough patch, we’ve always had God in our corner, talking to us quietly, whispering in our ears and reminding us of the covenant we made to each other and to Him, helping us see past the anger and frustration, and remember the love and friendship, and most importantly, the commitment we made. Also, remember that no problem is too big for God to fix.

9. Learn to serve your spouse. Figure out what their “love language” is or what makes them feel loved and cherished and important. What makes them happy? What do they enjoy doing? What helps them to relax? If they had a day to themselves, what would they do? Figure these things out and then try to do them. It’s not always easy, especially when you have crazy schedules and kids and jobs and just generally have a lot going on, but it can be as simple as putting away the dishes, cooking a nice dinner, taking the kid out of the house for a couple of hours, letting them pick the movie or restaurant, saying “Yes” when you really just want to roll over and say “No.”;) You get my drift. Figure out ways you can meet their needs and serve them and then take note of the change you’ll see at home.

10. Don’t let one bad season determine what marriage is to you. A season is just that, a season. It will pass. Things will get better. Just because you may go through a difficult patch, it doesn’t mean that is how all your years of marriage will be. I’ll never forget this one day when Asher Wade was a newborn and he had horrible colic and I was home with him on maternity leave and it was an incredibly difficult time. A friend called me to check in and I basically just cried and told her how hard this all was and that motherhood was nothing like I had envisioned. She gave me what turned out to be the best advice I received from anyone (and let me tell you, I received a lot of advice). She told me that what I’m going through right now is simply a blip in a lifetime of being a mother and I should not let this one challenging season define what motherhood will be like for me. You guys, that advice completely changed my perspective. It has kind of become my mantra in life, and it absolutely works for both motherhood and marriage. Like I mentioned above, you WILL go through challenging seasons in marriage, but that does not mean your entire marriage is, or should be, challenging. The good can far outweigh the bad. In fact, how you handle those challenging seasons can make you stronger as a couple and allow to revel in the really good seasons even more. Don’t let a challenging season define what marriage is. It’s so much more.

I love you Matt!  So happy to do this life with you…

Tis’ the Season! {Part 1}

The holidays are here! Whether you’re ready for them or not, they are upon us. I don’t waste any time getting things holly jolly festive in our part of the woods. Christmas decorations started coming out in the beginning of November and I gradually decorated leading up to Thanksgiving. Matt hung the outside lights this past weekend and they look amazing! I prefer to have our house decorated before Thanksgiving because I love to see all the bright colors and lights during our Thanksgiving meal:-) Never too early for Christmas in my opinion. I give Mr. Turkey his due time and respect, but no reason not to have a Christmas tree in the corner. I love how all the decorations look in our home. Will try to remember to get more pictures, but here’s a few for now.

Probably should have closed the garage door…

Christmas activities are also in full swing already. We attended a Christmas kick-off parade, which marks Santa’s arrival at our local mall, and Asher Wade was SO EXCITED. He is so in to Santa this year. I’m in to Santa too because finally we can use him to threaten AW in to obedience, lol. Seriously, I’ve been waiting for the day when I could start saying, “You better behave because Santa is watching.” I use Jesus in place of Santa sometimes, but it doesn’t seem to have the same effect. Apparently AW already knows his sins have been bought;)

We attended a “Lumberjack Bash” in our neighborhood a couple weeks ago, which was super fun. I had never heard of this sort of party theme, but it was really cute and festive for this time of year! Give me any excuse to wear plaid, and I’m there. Matt actually found this dress for me at Target and it was perfect. Plus it’s super warm, so I see myself wearing it a lot over the winter.

We attended a “Shop in Your PJ’s” event at Asher Wade’s school. They opened the book fair to the younger kids only and had doughnuts and story time. Asher Wade had a blast with his best bud, Scout. These two are quite the pair, and they had so much fun playing together outside of normal school hours. Asher Wade literally asks me every day if Scout can come over to play, so I’m glad we were finally able to get our schedules together and make a play date happen.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We hosted this year and I was happy to be in our house with family (last year we were by ourselves in our tiny apartment) AND feeling healthy (last year I felt like I was on my death bed with a terrible sinus infection and bronchitis). Matt’s parents and my brother came in and we also hosted some people from church, so we had a somewhat full table. The more the merrier in my opinion:-)

The day after Thanksgiving we attempted to go see Santa. It started off well, but did NOT end well. For whatever reason, AW got scared (and was just having a 3-year old moment in general) and I had to carry him kicking and screaming out of the store. Good times.

The calm before the storm

The storm

All was well later that night though at the lighted boat parade:-)

Thankful Thursday {and some election thoughts}

Today there is one thing that trumps anything I could possibly be thankful for, and that’s the simple fact that I am SO THANKFUL that this election is OVER! Regardless of whether or not your candidate won, I think we can all agree that this was an incredibly stressful and exhausting election season, that has seemingly been going on forever. I’m not going to go into my personal political views, although I will say that I was not supportive of either candidate and personally don’t think either of them have much business being the POTUS, but I AM going to support President Trump now that he is in office, and I will respect him and pray for him, just like I would have done for Hillary. Our country’s leaders need prayers. Lots of them.

I am also going to tell an interesting story that pretty much sums up my view point on how messed up this whole situation was. I was talking to a group of random people at my gym on election day. Some of us had already voted that morning, and some of us, including myself, were planning to go after work. We all have a sense of humor and we are all respectful of one another, so it wasn’t totally absurd that we got into this conversation about the candidates and who we were voting for. One guy said something about how he could totally peg each of us and accurately predict who we were voting for, based on the little bit of personal info he knows about each of us. He started going around our little circle giving his predictions. When he got to me he thought for a second and then said that I was definitely voting for Hillary because “you are a strong, educated woman with a professional career, but you also have a kid, and you’re probably all about some women’s rights.” A girl in our group that knows me pretty well said, “No way, she’s way too conservative to vote for Hillary, and she’s a Christian, so I bet anything she felt she had to vote for the more conservative candidate.” And therein lies the problem. If you’re a strong woman with some slight feminist tendencies, you’re expected to vote for Hillary, despite the fact that she is NOT a woman I’d ever want to look up to or emulate. Of all the amazing, qualified, strong and honest women in this country, she was our best option? I have a hard time believing that. Nor would I want to encourage my own daughter to grow up to be like Hillary. Don’t get me wrong – I am incredibly proud of the fact that we had a woman candidate at all. It was a historical moment, and I’m so proud of how hard she fought to get there and what it means for women who are also fighting their male counterparts to get to the top every single day. But do I think that just because she’s a woman, or even a woman with a lot of government experience under her belt, that she was deserving of being the POTUS? Sorry, but no. On the flipside, if you’re a Christian, you’re generally expected to vote for the more conservative candidate, a/k/a Trump in this case, when he’s pretty much the exact opposite of what I think a true Christian should stand for. Heck, he’s not even what I think a man should stand for. Again, of all the qualified, honorable, tactful and respected men out there, he was our best option? No way.

If my label is going to be “woman” I certainly do not want to be the sort of “woman” that Hillary Clinton is. Thanks, but I can quickly spout off 10 other women that I would much rather fall in the footsteps of. If my label is going to be “Christian” I also do not want to be the sort of “Christian” that Donald Trump is. Again, so many other Christians that I admire and look up to, not just because they are professed Christians, but also because of their values, generosity, grace and humility, and most importantly, desire to spread love and joy and acceptance. For me this election season, voting was literally a rock and a hard place. I didn’t feel like we could win either way, and I wasn’t pleased with either candidate, just like many other Americans. So I prayed, and voted my conscious, and did what I felt was the right thing to do. And you know what? It all turned out OK. It would have been OK if it were the other candidate as well. We are going to be OK. Now it’s time to accept, unite and move forward. And pray. Pray for our new President, pray for our government, pray for our country, pray for some peace. God’s got this. If you are still struggling today with the outcome, I hope you can find that sense of peace too.

And if we really need something else controversial to argue about, I can officially confirm that the “holiday” cups are out at Starbucks and apparently they have brought back some Christmas’esque decorations. Mine had ornaments on it this morning. Let the Facebook rants commence.

Also, puppies make everything better:)

Thankful Thursday

In the past I have done “30 Days of Thankfulness” and posted one thing every day during the month of November that I am thankful for. This year I am going to post each Thursday, particularly since I often do a Thankful Thursday post anyways. Join in if you feel so inclined! We all have something to be thankful for!

Today I am thankful for MATT and ASHER WADE. 

Matt and I are about to celebrate 10 years of marriage. That’s so hard to believe. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, easy times and hard times, joys and sorrows, but we keep chugging along, and most importantly, we keep doing life together. We really are a team and there’s no one else I’d rather do this life with. We do it too well together. And for that, I am thankful.

Asher Wade is such a blessing to me. I don’t know if I have ever mentioned this on the blog before, but before I had him, I honestly did not think I had that “mother instinct” like most of my friends did. I knew I’d probably have kid(s) someday, but it wasn’t at the top of my list of life goals. I kind of just viewed as something adults do at some point in their lives. Full disclosure here, I don’t particularly even like kids, lol. I’ve never been the type to get all goo-goo eyes whenever I see a baby and I don’t actively seek out children or want to spend time with them. Nor are other children particularly drawn towards me…probably because they can sense that I’m not overly crazy about them;) HOWEVER, this all changed when Asher Wade came along. I honestly had this immediate and innate feeling that I was meant to be a mother. Like, it was the most important job in the entire world and I was born to do it. It is shocking to me how much I love being a mom, considering how I felt pre-AW. This change happened pretty much the second I got that positive sign on the pregnancy stick, and it just grew when he was born, and has continued to ever since. Asher Wade not only made me a mom, but he made me want to be a mom. And for that, I am thankful.

Motivation Monday {and my first half marathon!}

This has been the most exhausting and somewhat stressful last seven days.  I literally felt like I was about to hit a wall on Thursday and totally shut down.  It was just something about coming home from a fun, but exhausting Vegas trip, jumping right back into work, home and family responsibilities, plus some other weekday and weekend commitments.  I feel like I’ve been on the verge of getting sick and Asher Wade has had a nasty cold.  My parents were in town visiting, which thankfully means they’ve been able to pitch in with AW and keep him home from school so he could rest, but that also means I’ve been busy entertaining.  I’ve had doctors’ appointments and a hair appointment.  Matt had to drive to northern KY on Friday to pickup our new puppy and come home Saturday.  Then we ran a half marathon on Sunday morning after getting very limited sleep the night before, because, puppy.  I mean, seriously.  I’ve basically been in survival mode, but I’m hoping this week is much calmer.

I completely skipped doing my Motivation Monday post last week since I was out of town, but I will say that I DID work out every single day while on vacation.  Besides hitting up our awesome hotel gym most days, we walked up and down the Vegas strip multiple times and also took a day trip to the Grand Canyon.  It was a good thing I was able to fit in some exercise because I definitely splurged on some food while we were there….the restaurant scene was out of control.  One day I actually hit over 31,000 steps!  

I’ll post more on the Vegas trip, plus a whole lotta pictures, soon.  Here are my stats from this past week…

Monday 8/8: Spent most of the day at the airport, on a long plane ride, and then driving home from Nashville, so I didn’t have time for a legit workout, but I did stroll around the neighborhood that evening while Asher Wade rode his scooter.

Tuesday 8/9: 6 mile run along the river

Wednesday 8/10: Ran 4 progressive miles on the treadmill (increasing my speed each mile)

Thursday 8/11: 60 minute Orangetheory Fitness class

Friday 8/12: Ran 3 progressive miles on the treadmill (increasing my speed each mile)

Saturday 8/13: Pretty much a total rest day in preparation for tomorrow

Sunday 8/14: Half marathon day! 13.1 miles…BAM!

The Four Bridges half marathon went awesome!  I went in with relatively low expectations considering that I hadn’t properly trained (my longest run prior to that morning was 8 miles) and I’ve been teetering on the edge of getting a cold.  Then the morning got off to a pretty rough start after we totally overslept the alarm (our sitter had literally been sitting in the driveway and messaging us for almost 30 minutes) and had to throw on some clothes, jump in the car and go to make the 7:30 start time.  I had planned to get up an hour before we had to leave, drink a cup of coffee, eat a little something and just generally have some time to prepare, so I was pretty worried how I would perform on 3 sips of coffee and a couple bites of a protein bar (and let’s be honest, not using the umm-hmm, bathroom).  Apparently I run better under pressure because other than the hectic start, the race itself could not have gone better.  Thankfully I ran with a friend and we chatted the entire 13.1 miles, which made it go by faster and kept my mind off what we were actually doing.  She motivated me and kept me from over thinking everything.  The route was great (minus a few killer climbs), scenery was nice and the weather was perfect.  There was so much energy on the route with crowds scattered all throughout holding signs and cheering us on.  I swear when I crossed that finish line I was so relieved and proud.  The waffles and honey buns at the end were a nice treat too:-)  Overall, it was a great experience and I am SO GLAD I can check this off.

AW got his fitness on this weekend too trying some rock climbing for the first time😃 #fitfam

Mid-Week Shakedown and our Sarasota Trip

Wednesday is my least favorite day of the week.  Always has been.  Probably always will be.  I don’t even really know why, other than that I am always so tired on Wednesdays and I know I still have another two full days until the weekend is here.  Once I get over the hump, I’m fine, but man, sometimes getting over it feels like I’m sprinting up a mountain.  It’s just a challenge.  It doesn’t help that I’m currently still trying to get adjusted to being back to reality.  I just can’t get my mind right and I’m pretty much convinced that I should still be on vacation.  Whaa whaa whaa, I know.  Get it together, Leanne.

We had such a great time in Sarasota last week.  Saturday to Saturday is the way to do it in my opinion…I truly felt like I took a vacation and got away from work and responsibilities.  Not to mention how nice it is to have some extra sets of hands to help with Asher Wade.  My parents are so good to babysit and entertain him so Matt and I can sneak away to exercise, grab dinner or meet up with friends, and we definitely did all of the above.  Just being able to take a spontaneous date night (and not pay for a sitter…can I get an AMEN to that!) is such a treat for us.  We got lots of family time as well, visiting the beach, pool, splash pad, Mote Marine, Big Cat Habitat and our favorite restaurants and ice cream shops (duh).  We even had some family pictures done! Oh, and I got to attend a surprise retirement party for my mom!  We were B.U.S.Y.  It was awesome though, and we were so blessed to be able to stay down there for a week.  I love Chattanooga, but man, Sarasota will always have a special place in my heart…

Like I mentioned above, we also had some family pictures done by the very talented Alisa Forbis of Alisa Sue Photography.  I actually went to high school with Alisa and she is such a warm and sweet person.  This is the second time she has done our photos, and she is incredibly talented and has such an eye for photography.  I cannot wait to receive all of the pictures, but here are a couple she posted right after the shoot:-)