Unplug

Unplug.
Ryan and I started a new little “tradition” in our family. On Sundays we decided from now on, to leave all technology off and out of the way. Our very 2016 iPhone’s will be temporarily converted to the basics of a flip phone. Phone calls only. Since it seems people don’t really call anymore, you can imagine this means our phones are pretty quiet all day.
Ryan took it seriously enough that he actually turned his phone off and left it in our bedroom all day. We did a morning Bible Study together while the girls napped and it took us twice as long because there was literally nothing distracting us and we did more than we ever have in one sitting. (Even bathroom breaks took less time for some of us, HAHA)

Can I admit something pretty embarrassing you to? The first Sunday was hard! By noon I was pretty mortified at how much time I normally spend on the phone. I guess we don’t really know how much “checking” we do be it on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. BUT Ryan and I talked ALL DAY! I told him stories I probably wouldn’t have thought important if he would have been “busy” on a devise. Our kids got our FULL attention all day long. By dinner time (which was a date night anyways) we were having major, in depth conversations and noticing all the couples on their phones around us!
I’d say about half way through the day I noticed my desire to “check in on social media” was becoming less and less. That feeling of missing something was less. Why did I feel like I was missing something on social media when all these weeks, months, etc. before I was actually missing out on the ones that mean the most to me?
We are so in tune to others little square images of life that we forget life is happening right in front of us.
This is where we are truly missing out.
The days might be long but the years are short and we don’t get the same day back again.
Needless to say, I’m truly looking forward to our weekends together now. Not that I wasn’t before, but when we are all truly present we make more memories even in the smallest of moments. We reconnect in areas we didn’t even realize we needed to. 

Our Rose Garden

Last weekend Ryan and I took our girls into the backyard to do some yard work. Can I be honest with you? Last weekend was not my shining moment. Nothing really happened but you could say I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. All. Weekend. Long. [insert “Poor Ryan” here]
At church on Sunday I prayed for the ugliness to leave my heart. I didn’t want to end the weekend on a bad note and I was sure Ryan and the girls were over my ugly mood. Ryan decided he wanted to get some yard work done and, half ducking, asked if I wanted to join. I, of course deep in my funk, said no but changed my mind a few minutes later. I took Minnie out with me to meet Ryan and JoJo on the side of the house. When I turned the corner of the house, I nearly changed my mind again at the sight of our little rose garden. It was FULL of weeds. My only regret is not getting a “before” picture to share with y’all.
As I started cutting back the rose bushes and untangling the weeds from the beautiful stems, it took my breath away – the peace and irony that filled the moment. Do you ever have those moments when God is speaking to you as clearly as if He were literally standing in front of you talking? This is how I felt in that moment. I could touch the face of Jesus.

For whatever reason, my heart was full of nasty weeds all weekend. Maybe it was from the stress of the crazy week we had previously, or the bitterness of the injustice we can’t seem to get away from with the girls, or maybe its because my body seems to know May is coming and the loss of my mom has stretched on another year. No matter what the reason, I felt like God was using this overgrown garden to teach me a lesson.
The sum up of this garden being a mess is because the people tending to it (Ryan and I) had let it go. The winds here have been bad lately, we haven’t checked the sprinkler system in a while, and you could say this little rose garden was “out of sight, out of mind.” This can so often be the same reason for the ugliness that grows in our hearts. We’re too busy to relax, too stressed to take a break during the day – there aren’t enough hours in the day anyways. I often wonder what my heart would feel like if each day I took 30 minutes to do something mindless that I love – be it taking a bath, painting my nails, crocheting, sewing something for my sweet babies, etc. More importantly, if I found some time each day to spend with my Father. Not the typical, semi distracted time, but full attention, quiet mind time.

Sometimes thinking about finding me time is more stressful than anything. Trying to schedule a time out. This is where priorities come in.
Finding this time IS more important than folding that pile of laundry sitting in the dryer.
It IS more important than unloading the dishwasher.
It IS more important than answering that text, or that email.
This is the time that is making me a better mama, wife, and friend. It’s my time to unwind and renew. Now I know all this but I can’t honestly say I’ve mastered when to fit this time in. I can’t even say I have fit it in everyday since this moment we were cutting back the rose bushes. But what I can tell you is when the weeds were pulled, the dead roses removed, the planters raked and watered, and the branches trimmed of their weight, we were left with a beautiful rose garden. When I first saw the garden I didn’t think there was ANY roses worth saving. It just looked like a big ol mess. But when everything was cleaned up, I was left with TONS of gorgeous roses. I trimmed a bunch and put them throughout the house and there were still TONS of beautiful roses left on the bushes. You just couldn’t tell in the beginning because there was too much distracting you from the beauty of what mattered.
So, as I sit and write this, I’ve also come up with my game plan. I have two options – getting up before the girls and having some time to myself or, when Ryan gets home, taking a half hour after dinner to unwind. I’m not a morning person and would probably grow to resent waking up earlier and Ryan already takes over bath time at night, so for me, this is the perfect time. I would normally try to clean up the toys or do dishes or laundry during bath time, but I’m committing this time to work on my heart. I would have felt guilty about this a while ago – needing time to myself – but its not fair to myself to feel guilty. We have to recharge our batteries. For me, it’s crucial to spend time in the Word without the distractions. It sets me up to be a better wife and mama. Isn’t that enough to make this time worth it? Absolutely.

What are some things you do to recharge your batteries, or tend to your garden? When do you find time to do those things?

“Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Our Trip to Tennessee

When we first got the news Baby A would be leaving us, we were devestated. Unlike with J, we had some kind of a clue she’d be going home and we also knew this was a positive day in foster care but that didn’t fix our hurting hearts all the way. It was negetive in the way our hearts were breaking, but this IS the way foster care is made to work. Family reunification CAN BE positive. Although we are all too aware, reunification can come too soon for some, but for A we were so proud of her mom and so grateful for the beautfiul relationship we had worked (hard) at forming. A’s family will remain in our prayers and hearts for a lifetime and we already have a date planned to see them!
The night we dropped A off was heartwrenching. It felt wrong to feel so heartbroken because we were SO very happy for this family. They worked hard and they got their baby back. On the car ride home, I told Ryan we needed a vacation. I say this often so I don’t think he took me so seriously but I told him, “no, for real… give me some dates.” We decided Nashville would be perfect: the perfect mix of fun and relaxation. Just what our hearts needed.
We knew we wanted to stay at a B&B or somewhere that felt authentically Southern. A few places on our list were already sold out but we stumble upon perfection in the Butterfly Inn. Not only was this sweet B&B in thee most beautiful setting, but it was thee sweetest southern home we ever have seen! It was very Joanna Gaines!
The flight was horrible (I hate flying) but we did make it in one piece. However, almost died in the worst, most expensive taxi ride of our lives. I didn’t know what was going to kill us first, the man’s driving or the meter price ticking away! We finally made it to the Butterfly Inn at 1am and our amazing vacation began. The room was gorgeous and we welcomed that big ol bed with open arms and sleepy eyes!
Our first morning there, we started the day with the most amazing breakfast either of us has ever had! I told them they need to make a cookbook, for real! The food was to die for!!

That first day, we spent most of the day in and around Franklin. There was so much we wanted to do and see but of course, not enough time to actually do it all. We did get to walk around Downtown Franklin, which we loved! We checked out some houses in the area and shopped in the sweet shops around the circle. There was a house (farm?) with bison and buffalo laying the front yard (WHAT?!) which was so neat! We had a slow day, which was really nice!


On Friday, we spent the day in Nashville. We knew we were going to the Grand Ol Opry that night so we decided that would be a good day to explore. We went to Centennial Park, walked around Vanderbilt and Belmont’s Nursing Schools (cue the pitter patter of my heart!), went to The Frothy Monkey, which has amazing coffee and roamed the area. We then got lost in the Grand ol Opry Hotel… okay no joke that place is HUGE! All we wanted was some dinner! Nope, we literally walked through the hotel, trying to find the exit for 45 minutes! We finally made it to the Opry and it did not disappoint! We saw the best show and toured the Opry after the show! SO fun! We said we’d totally do it again because you either are busy listening or taking pictures and the country music history in the Opry covers every nook and cranny. We could probably tour it 10 more times and be just as amazed!


On Saturday we took a little longer getting out of the B&B. Seriously you could vacation by staying at Butterfly Inn all weekend. There was a family of deer outside our window each morning. I would have loved to explore the trails. We will definitely be going back soon and exploring we will do! We went out to the lake in Hendersonville and spent some time walking through the neighborhoods there then headed to Downtown Nashville, Ryan bought his first pair of cowboy boots (yup, you heard that right!! My black and gray loving husband bought some cowboy boots and boy does he look sexy if I do say so!), and walked around the heart of Nashville. Later that night we met a sweet friend for dinner at Haddy’s, which had delicious burgers (the food in TN did not disappoint!) then went to Jeni’s for ice cream, which was the most delicious ice cream we’ve ever had!


We had an early flight out on Sunday and a piece of my heart stayed in Tennessee. The state is gorgeous and there wasn’t one thing we didn’t love! Until next time, I’m so thankful for the memories!

These donkeys were at the Butterfly Inn and I fell IN LOVE!!

Summer Vacation

I finally got around to uploading our vacation pictures off the camera so I thought I’d share some of this summer beauty with y’all.
In the winter my family goes to Glamis, which I have always loved but in all honestly, I live for the lake in the summer. I have some of my earliest memories from the lake as well as most of my memories of my Mom and Papa together. Needless to say, I can’t wait to make memories with our babies out on the water. For Father’s Day this year, we decided to go to Lake Mead with my Papa and stepmom and were greeted with beautiful weather and perfect water. It was Ryan and I’s only planned vacation for the summer so we were fully prepared to soak up every second away.
Even though the water is super low, there is still plenty of it and we had an absolute blast!


Weekend Time

The last couple of weeks have been tough! I feel like we’ve been super busy, but getting nothing done. Does anyone else ever feel that way?! I know we aren’t the only ones that think weekends are just not long enough…

We are trying to balance housework with together time with spending time with family and friends and I just feel like we’ve been loosing in most of these areas no matter how hard we try. So we made a deal with each other… one ½ day out of the weekend will be dedicated to housework and the rest of the weekend is for each other and those that matter most to us! I’d rather have a pile of unfolded clothes then no time with the love of my life! Sometimes we have to take these little steps back and “regroup” to find where our priorities must be!

That being said… Enjoy your weekend friends!

Our Weekend in Texas

Ryan and I decided a couple weeks ago to make a road trip to Texas (more on that reasoning later). We knew it would be a quick trip but the timing with his work just wasn’t working out. At the last minute this week he was told he could have Friday off so we planned to leave Thursday night. Now in a perfect world this would have had us arriving in Dallas about 1pm Friday afternoon, give or take. Well we’d soon find out we were giving more than taking! I called our amazing dog sitter to see if she could stay the weekend and she was free so we rented a car and headed out!
I’ll admit we didn’t leave on time on Thursday. We left around 8 pm so we thought, okay, we’ll be there in time for dinner and can do a few things Friday before heading to our B&B.
*Side note: We love staying at B&B’s. This is for a couple reasons. First of all they are so welcoming and feel like staying at a home (duh because you are!). Secondly, we love to support small businesses! And thirdly, you always get a yummy home cooked breakfast. Well this B&B exceeded our expectation, but more on that later! If you’re traveling to a new place, I highly encourage checking out bedandbreakfast.com to see if there are any great places to stay. It will through you into the area charm much more than a regular hotel room and 9 times out of 10 they are way cheaper and are cozy and romantic!
So anyways, back to our drive. I knew it would be a hard drive since Ryan and I are usually in bed by 9/9:30 and we had 19+ hours ahead of us! Well tough was an understatement. I have really bad vision (yes I have contacts and glasses, don’t worry!) and driving at night, or in “weather” only point out that problem to me more. Driving through Arizona and New Mexico wasn’t bad as we were just trying to find a good system for switching off. About ¾ the way through New Mexico the sun began to rise and that was such a special time because, lets be honest, we don’t typically wake up to watch the sun rise, which judging by the beauty of that morning, is a shame. There is something so powerful about the sun rising and starting a new day. It was gorgeous. So I wanted to stop and take a picture, which is when I got my fist glimpse at what 20 degree weather felt like, holy moly bur!


The next few hours where uneventful. We stopped at Krispy Kreams and Starbucks, which was amazing, then continued on our way for the next few hours. We started to notice snow on the ground a few hours into Texas which got worse as we drove on. I’ll spare you the details of the next few hours because there wasn’t much going on just two sleepy people wanting to make it to Dallas! THEN IT HAPPENED! It was about 4:30pm and according to our GPS we had about 2 hours, give or take, left and we hit traffic. I’m not taking a little traffic, I’m talking turn off your car, you aren’t going anywhere traffic. Which is what we did, turned off our car, thanked God that my Papa and step mom were wise enough to remind us to bring plenty of snacks, water, and blankets, and sat there… For 8 hours! Yes you read that right, 8 hours!


We met some new friends as we were all just stuck in one place. We were so grateful we had just filled up on gas because some people were starting to run out. We did notice one positive thing (which after that many hours you need to find some good in the situation!), which was the willingness for others to help in crummy situations. For us, Ryan let a few people borrow our cell phones to make calls to worries family members as well as helped broken down cars move to a place they could be helped. For others it was letting people share a seat in a warm car to avoid everyone running out of gas. It was really a cool experience, plus we met a bunch of Texans ready to tell us all the great aspects of the state! And remind us this never happens!
Our car was full of frost!


So, fast forward 8 hours, it’s now the middle of the night, the roads are insanely slippery with a coat of ice on top, and we are again, on our way. I seriously spent a combined many hours in prayer as we saw so many incredibly horrible accidents. It felt unreal, like we were watching a bad movie or something. We’ve seriously never seen so many overturned semi trucks, smashed cars, and crying people at one time. It was horrible and my prayers go out to those families and the fire and rescue teams that responded in the 12-degree weather.
Scraping the windshield with a credit card!    

FINALLY!!

So we finally made it to our B&B at 5am! (Mind you, when I said short trip I meant we planned to drive home Saturday night and by now its already Saturday morning… Insert tears here). When we pulled up to our B&B I was instantly in love. It was absolutely gorgeous and the snow just added to how beautiful the old home looked.
Obviously we were exhausted but I have never slept in a more comfortable bed in my life. There was a big fireplace in our room and overall it was the perfect atmosphere and all that we’d gone through to get there was so worth it… even for the fact we were only there for 5 hours! We were meeting with some friends to check out the area at 10:30am so we slept, enjoyed breakfast, then got back in the dreaded car. Thank goodness the car we rented was super comfortable because that could have made a bad situation worse.

We had a blast checking out Dallas/Fort Worth and, because of the weather, not too many people we out so we didn’t hit any traffic driving around the city. We ate at The Rustic in downtown Dallas which was THE best food we’ve ever had. We loved this restaurant! We really appreciate restaurants that buy local, organic, good food. I loved that their meats lived a good life and you could taste the difference in their food. We can’t wait to go back!

*Side note about the food… Guys, this place is seriously amazing! We’ve been talking about it ever since we left! I had a wood grilled turkey sandwich and Ryan had the rustic burger. It was the most flavorful and perfectly cooked meal I’ve ever had. We had the double drip appetizer which was their smoked chips with corn queso and onion dip. Then, my sandwich had wood grilled turkey, texas gouda, and smoked ham on it topped with slaw and apple butter. I also subbed the chips for their avocado salad which I’m already trying to remake tonight! I’m hooked! Ryan’s burger was topped with chopped house brisket, white cheddar, green chili, grilled white onion, and their burger sauce. Then, to top it all off, the manager brought out a slice of their peanut pie. They said it’s for us to have for visiting Dallas and it was amazing. We took most of it home because we were soo full from the food but every part of the meal was incredible. We don’t typically drink alcohol (wine not included!) but in the spirit of celebrating our trip we both ordered a drink, which was delicious, and I could go on about the food for days. It was definitely a place we’ll visit any time we are in Texas! The atmosphere is great, the service was wonderful, and the food was out of this world! We miss it already!

Sadly, after we ate, we headed back along our 19+ journey home to California. We already have a list going of things we want to do next time we visit. We didn’t get to check out McKinney, which I was most looking forward to, but it’ll be great to plan our next trip (in which we plan to FLY). It was a great time overall though. We had fun with each other and made the most out of the situation we were in! Thank goodness driving home was pretty uneventful! We hit rain once driving through Palm Springs until we got home but we couldn’t wait to kiss our babies and judging by their cries and wagging tails… they missed us to!
Until next time Texas… We’ve fallen in love with you!


Glamis Weekend

Happy Monday! I have always had Mondays off so for me the workweek hasn’t started yet and today is my day to get all the rest of my errands done. Last Friday, Ryan and I drove with the three wiener babes to Glamis for the weekend. A bunch of my family from a few different states met us out there and we had a blast catching up and spending time together. We bought a trailer last October and Ryan will jump at any chance to use it!
The day my husband and I picked up our trailer. My Jenna looks pretty towing. (Yes I name my cars!)
Unfortunately, it was super windy all weekend so that was a bummer but other than that we were happy no one got hurt and nothing terrible went wrong… We had a great time riding and spending time together!

The wieners hate the car. The first hour of the drive was full of tears… Some from them, others from me. But we made it through our 4 hour drive.

Barely… by the look on Heidi’s face!

The wind made the sand so soft we ended up getting stuck once… How many men does it take to move this heavy sand car? Well about 9!

The wind made for such a clear and beautiful sky!

This week I am excited to start filling up my Miss Menu as I’m committing to cooking everyday (except tonight as we have a doctors appointment about an hour from our house)… three times a day! I’m so excited to make a couple new dishes for Ryan and I. Of course I’ll also be adding a couple of our oldies but goodies into the mix! 

This morning was an egg scramble and green juice as we scrambled out the door… Ryan for work and I am off to start my day. On the menu for lunch is a garden salad with extra cucumbers and tonight will be our one and only eating out meal (hopefully!) at Zovs. If you are ever in the Irvine, CA area I highly recommend this restaurant! I’m sure I’ll be posting a picture of our little date night later.

Tomorrow, however, I will be attempting a brand new recipe! Excited to see how it goes. Cooking is definitely something I love to do and I know it is something my husband appreciates me doing. I jump at the opportunity to serve my man and this is definitely a way that benefits us both!


My Kitchen

My weekend officially started Saturday afternoon (woohooo!) and naturally I couldn’t be happier to have this last day before work tomorrow! We had a ton of work to do around our house this weekend but decided to take yesterday “off” and spend most of the day walking around antique stores and ended up seeing American Shooter (amazing and intense movie!). Since we bought our home last June (I will post on that huge project this week) we have been spending every free second on projects. We were able to design our home as it was a new build and this came with many pros and some cons that we weren’t necessarily expecting… but I will touch on that this week.
Overall we couldn’t be happier and love this big ol’ house we call home. I absolutely love to cook and consider it such an act of love to cook for my husband and our families! So of course the kitchen is my favorite room of our house and it’s been such a joy of mine to really settle into this space and make it ours. The day we moved, the kitchen was all unpacked (with help from my step-mom and mother-in-law) and in proper working order… it is my perfect space! 
The kitchen on the night we moved in… so much has changed and been added making me fall more in love with it everyday.

Love this cute cutting board my brother-in-law and sister-in-law got us for Christmas! Matches our wiener dog towel!

Our new little coffee (&& tea) corner of the kitchen.. I love this little space!


One of my favorite parts of our kitchen is the connection I feel with my mom when I’m in it. She was such a homemaker and absolutely loved to cook. I’d always be so amazed because I could open the pantry and see nothing to eat and 10 minutes later she’d have a delicious meal made. I know it gave her such joy and I’m so grateful for the memories I have with her that revolve around the kitchen. In fact, one of my last memories with my mom was her showing me how to cut a pineapple… random, I know, but so so special! Isn’t it awesome when something so simple is such a huge reminder of something so sweet?!