Tuesday, January 31, 2012

an 85 year celebration....

You know in blogland, you read all the time about cute parties, elegant soirees, and fantastically decorated weddings....you rarely hear about a lovely party for someone who's lived through all those milestones and more!

My Mom had an idea of how to celebrate my Grandmother's 85th birthday - a SURPRISE party thrown just for her all about HER!  If you know my Grandma, she is no attention hog so this would surely be something she'd never forget.  I remember watching my boys as the room hushed and we prepared to yell SURPRISE! They loved seeing their sweet Abuela's smile as she gazed at a room full of friends and family who dearly love her and wanted their best wishes to be given personally on her big day.

My Grandmother's passion - aside from family & prayer....is sewing.  She is known for making beautiful pieces for all her friends, family, grandchildren as they walk through weddings/babies...so my Mom threw a party themed around buttons & the therapeutic role sewing has played in her life.

Here are a few pics from her day....so loved being a part of this event for the sweetest Grandma ever....

Children in bottom right photo: My Mom on the left and my Uncle Sam on the right (I looked JUST like this as a little girl)

cakes done by Cakes by Julie

Monday, January 30, 2012

so much more than I bargained for...

In realizing how many balls we're juggling these days, I've never been more aware of the little things my husband and sons do to help make this machine of a household run. 

It's such a sacrifice on various levels to give without expectation of a return and to continue doing something even if, perhaps, you aren't thanked for it. 

I guess its the definition of selfless  -  simply not focusing so much about what SELF needs.

My husband and I have sought out to be people who exemplify this characteristic and often fail with one another....

This last weekend was an example of where my husband went above and beyond to help, love & admonish me.  He reminded me that I'm pregnant and my energy levels just aren't what they used to be....on account of growing a human 24/7....he made sure little things were done so I wouldn't have to worry and he treated me to pampering which helped the entire process, let's just be honest. 

All this is said not in a manner to brag but to remind ME that there are needs we all can be meeting for one another.  Yes, our lives are hard....we might be going through a rough time, etc....but take eyes off of self and look to help/encourage/assist.  

I'm grateful Joel reminded me of this recently....
LOVE this poster found here

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

organization part 2

Was SUPER motivated last week to purge old junk, organize & repurpose some spaces last week in our home.

Ironically, I tackled the lower level built-in shelves in our dining room.  Since we've moved here, we've literally used one for coloring items and play-doh....and the other for, well, stuff we didn't know what to do with.

Do you have one of those places?  a Junk drawer of sorts but you cling on to things like the packaging to a gift you got....the box your GPS came in...the instructions to a dishwasher you are perfectly able to use....

Yeah, that was our drawer - I emptied it, surveyed what we needed.  Turns out I had been keeping (unknowingly) a photograph of Joel and his ex-girlfriend from WAY back in the day....for the last 9 years of marriage.  I had to chuckle and say to myself, 'Jess its time to throw some things away....'

So there I stood with empty units, their contents in garbage bags or in other more appropriate locations of the house and I had to choose: What is the purpose of this space?

It felt good to make that choice.  Rather than allow life to come at me and for me to react by hiding items I didn't know I didn't need....

So, the unorganized and overstuffed cabinets are now my little baking houses caring for my baking pans, mixer, etc.

It felt good to make that choice and I'm excited to tackle our linen closet today....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the container

We are full on into maternity clothing around here - or at least clothing that is forgiving.

I am strangely reminded of the pregnancy with Jude - due almost the exact same time frame, got pregnant during a year after losing a good deal of weight, etc.

It was sad to put some new clothing away.  Clothing I JUST got into.  Wasn't I just blogging about getting into my skinny jeans like a minute ago?


Now don't feel bad - I'm not fishing for compliments about my looks - trust me, I know pregnancy is a beautiful state and I wouldn't trade it for the world.....there is just something about seeing that huge panel of fabric extend on the end of your new jeans....that makes you laugh a bit at what is happening to your body.  Joel gives me the 'Aw look at you...' face almost every day now.

It's part of the process and I'm ever as eager to pull out that container when the bump goes down....

In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy being a little large and in charge for the next 19 weeks....heck, someone asked if I'm due 'anytime now...."  the other day.  I just smiled...."nope, only halfway! "

(at least I'm not as big as Mia Farrow carrying twins...yet....photo below)

Happy Tuesday lovies.....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


There is a belief out there by many people - even those who know me well - who truly think I am organized.

It blesses my heart.
It makes me feel good.


I am truly deceiving you all.  If I am organized, it is because I work VERY hard at it or am completely annoyed by 'stuff'

It doesn't come natural.

This year, unlike last year, my resolutions aren't many.  Last year, my goal was to drop 20lbs (which I did), start a running regimen (which I did) and finish a 10K (which I did).

This year, I am focusing on the home.  Making the home special, organized, pleasing to the eye and creating practical storage solutions that will work for even our little Leland.

My goals are to completely organize my kitchen cupboards, office, linen closets & laundry space...oh yeah and obviously....our new son's room.

Here is my inspiration but would LOVE to hear your ideas on how to stay organized!

Monday, January 16, 2012

major major nesting

The 20 week mark has come and gone.

We are now less than 20 weeks away from meeting this boy.

The nesting instinct has taken full force and several organizational projects are ready to go.  The MAJOR one we wanted to cross off our list was our boys' room - we moved Jude and Lee in together about 2 weeks ago and couldn't be happier with how the transition has gone.  They are even becoming closer buds now that they are roomies. *warmfuzzyfeeling*

My husband did a remarkable job with the refinishing of our beautiful hardwood floors, installation of new baseboards and painting the walls a crisp white.  We took off their closet door to enhance the size of the room and utilize the top for clothing/storage and the bottom for toys & games.

I am so proud of my man!

Here was Jude's room before:

and Jude & Lee's room AFTER

Friday, January 13, 2012

that day....

The magical day came this past Tuesday - we scrambled at 6am to get ready for the day, gets kids out to sitter/school, get my hair looking less like I stay at home all the time....and get to our appt by 8:00am.  Our plan was to have them stick the 'results' in an envelope to allow Joel and I to experience the surprise on our own, alone.

I did this for 3 reasons:

1-I know my husband SO well and he will not act as 'real' if there is this stranger playing with his wife's belly and I wanted this to be 'real'.

2-If we were going to have a 3rd son, I didn't want there to be an awkward lull or wierdness in the U/S room.

3-If we were having a girl, I wanted that crazy surprise to be somethng that I'd remember sharing only with my love.

We walked into the office, checked in & were greeted by our ultrasound technician.  Usually, my experiences there have been with really wonderful technicians and this one just seemed like she was having a bad morning or something.  Her touch to my belly was rough and at a few points, I would say 'Ouch' as she was trying to gather information.  This is my 3rd child so I know what this feels like and it felt like she was taking out some anger on my uterus.

NOT so magical.

Next we told her that we'd like the surprise to be in an envelope and she gave us the 'Wow you guys are really creative....no one's EVER done that before..." look. 

Again...killing the magic.

As she was getting measurements, it was obvious there were some that our baby was being difficult with allowing her to capture.  She had me lay down lower, move slightly trying to get baby in the right position.  Joel sweetly asked her, 'Oh are you having a hard time finding the sex of the baby?"  She replied 'No, I got that right away..."

Hmmm....don't give it away or anything, lady! 

Once she concluded her portion of the job, she quickly left and said that the doctor would be in shortly to go over the results.  I always get SO frightened at what news he might have for us....or if there is something major missing that they want to tell us...

He walked in, very jovial and very kind and very unlike the tech who had just left.  He said, 'Do you guys have any kids yet?" (obviously he knew what the sex was by now) and we responded "Yes, we've got 2 boys!"  He looked at us with a smirk and said, "Perfect! You've got a good-looking kid here...but I'll tell ya....he's got ants in his pants."


He said it.  He said 'he'.  He spoiled our surprise with one little phrase.

Joel didn't catch it but I did and I instantly started to prepare myself for a houseful of men. 

He proceeded to tell us the beautiful news that this baby was 11 ounces, active, perfect, excellent blood flow and amniotic fluid....this baby was just perfect.  Music to my ears...

He left the room, I wiped my gooey gut off and we grabbed our envelope.  You'd think we'd do something sweet and creative and go to dinner and open over some delicious appetizers...but no, we ran to the stairwell like idiots and ripped open that envelope.  There it was.  The answer we'd waited all this time for.  It's a boy.  They stuck this little baby icon with a blue onesie on...and life was different.  Life was changing.  Our oldest son Jude was now oldest of 3 boys...our baby was now our middle son...

It'd be a lie to say that we jumped up and down and embraced with music playing and doves encircling us...the thought of a little girl brought a sweetness and a newness we thought would be beautiful.  I had imagined the idea of a boy and a girl....so while I LOVED thinking of our family dynamic now...I had to grieve a tad over the other idea I had been imagining...I had to let that go.  Joel did too and I could tell a little teeny part of his heart hurt. 

Just an hour or so later, I was working at the Bobbi Brown counter nearby and business was slow.  I stood there cleaning up the glosses and organizing lip shades and letting the whole idea of boy #3 sink in.  I dreamed, I imagined and truly started to bond with my newest and adorable little man.  A woman came up to the counter looking for an alternative to her Bare Mineral makeup and I had the chance to show her Bobbi's version...she ironically was the first person to ask me (without me telling her I'm pregnant) when I'm due.  I smiled and told her early June and told her it was great that I was starting to look pregnant and not just like I ate too much salted caramel bark over the holidays.  We both laughed...she then got a sad look over her eyes and out of nowhere shared, "I've been trying for over 8 years to get pregnant....maybe I'm just more in tune to pregnant women because of that."  There, in that moment, I remembered that pain. I felt it, saw it, smelled it.  I remembered that feeling I got when EVERYONE was pregnant all around me and it just wouldn't work for me.  It's amazing how people walk into your path at a time when you BOTH need it.

I encouraged her with my story, my dietary changes, and just wanted her to leave the counter with more than just BB products in hand....but also with hope.  It turns out she had endometriosis and with advanced maternal age, her doctor was using the big guns to get her pregnant.

In those few moments after this woman left the counter, I quickly uttered my thanks to God for the gift of another son....regardless of whatever I could imagine...I knew my God entrusted me with what He felt best....so grateful...so so grateful.
my 3 sons...2 on my lap, one teeny one in my tummy....

Friday, January 6, 2012

blog name?

I literally woke up this morning thinking....
I am having another baby - should I change the name of my blog?  HA!

Who knows?  Would hate to leave baby #3 out but j&l has such a nice ring to it...we'll see I guess.

Tuesday is the day.  The day we discover how life will alter more specifically come June.

  Is it a boy or is it a girl?

This pregnancy has not given me a 'gut' feeling either way.  For some reason, the only names I have are boy names....the only little things I imagine about our family's lifestyle include 3 very blonde chubby cheeked boys....and you know what, that would be SO wonderful.  The idea of a girl is a tad intimidating to me...just the unknown, the new stuff, the emotional & chemical differences.  While I'd be ridiculously thrilled to welcome a daugther, a boy does seem safe.

My husband, on the other hand, is very different.  He came from 4 boys in his own family and when I mention the thought of a daughter, he gets this sort of dreamy, sweet sort of look in his eye.  I'd love to see him hold his daughter's hand...and melt.


It still remains to be seen.  All I know is....I told God this time LAST year...I was done 'trying' to have a baby.  I was done with fertility treatments & dragon pills that made you want to do anything BUT baby-make.  I specifically remember telling Him if he wanted us to have a third, He'd have to make it happen and let it be a surprise. 

A surprise in Dublin it certainly was....so whatever you are little baby....we'll adore you and care for you just the same.

And maybe we'll get you one of these so we can rock nice and cozy....

Happy Friday, loves. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

over the moon

I know not everyone is married and I know not everyone wants to be.

That is completely OK.

Something that everyone needs to learn (including me) is how powerful it is to continually celebrate your spouse, remind them of their incredible potential, & be the positive voice that says, 'You're phenomenally talented & you astound me..."  *even when times get tough*

I am learning this and this year, I am setting out to be that edifying voice - marriage is NOT intended to be like 'Everybody Loves Raymond' with a nagging wife & passive husband....

2 people CAN collaborate in more than just procreation.....but also in creativity, in music, in spirit, in strategy.

Whether you 'feel' like your spouse needs to work on their issues or not....it's ALWAYS easier to control what you can: YOU

YOU choose to affirm them when no one else might
YOU choose to surprise them with kindness & thoughtful behavior....
YOU choose to pray & support them in the quiet of your heart....it will matter to them one day

Food for thought during this inspiring start to a year....more change happens when we allow the need to be 'right' to take a backseat to the need to serve.

Monday, January 2, 2012

all things new

Hope your holidays were Merry...ours were tougher than we'd hoped.  Just a blustery combination of sickness, unfortunate car repairs & mishaps galore.  It resulted in crabby behavior and less than magical moments....but we.made.it.through.

I have been reading through a lot of 'reflection' blogs lately....looking back and then quickly looking ahead.

I couldn't help but marvel at the last 3 years.

-Joel's career completely aligning with what he'd originally dreamed about doing way back when we were dating....

-2 children who have literally brought life out of us and caused our guts to hurt from the laughter they've evoked...

-Our hearts have healed from several years of spiritual abuse at jobs where we were intimidated, manipulated & all in the name of God.  We still look back and thank GOD we got out of there when we did.

-Friendships bountiful in honesty, openness, sillyness, seriousness & full of genuine care.  This one we prayed for YEARS ago...

- A marriage that's made it through nearly 9 years...and not just survived but love that has taken a whole new dive into covenant, faithfulness & respect.  I am truly able to be better as I learn to love my husband & give wholly to him.

It's been quite a crossroads - these last 3-4 years - and 2011 topped it off as the year we REALLY did what we talked about doing.  The point where we moved from 'decision' to 'action'.

~Joel and I stopped talking about booking an 'us-only' vacation and we DID it!  (good thing as we came home pregnant and it might have been our last shot for one of those for a long while!)

~I stopped talking about running again and actually did it, finished my first ever 10K run, and continued a health regime resulting in 20lbs lost and LOTS of confidence gained.

~We put time and love into our home, our bedroom, our kids' rooms....makes it hard to even think of selling as this place as it fits us like a glove.

All this to say, I'm proud of us.  We didn't just talk about it.  We did it.

The same goes for 2012.  We do not plan to fail we plan to accomplish our goals.  I hope you are too...make that margin between decision & action no margin at all!  You will feel great this time next year!