Friday, December 16, 2011

High Five Friday 12/16

From My Grey Desk

Well I am trying something new - a linky party called "High Five Friday" - which, as I understand it, is 5 highlights of your week. I think (I hope) this will get my tush back in gear and update this bloggity way more often than I actually do! At least it will give me a good excuse to have a bit o' randomness in my posts :)

So here goes. In no particular order:

1. We did Christmas early this year. We will not be in our house in Christmas morning, we will be travelling, and we have all our gifts to each other and Colton wrapped and under the tree so last night, we threw caution to the wind and opened everything! (Santa, please forgive our naughty behavior!) It was super fun to be a little spontaneous with Christmas! And even MORE fun to watch Colton love his gifts. The big thing we got him was this awesome pirate ship water table (YES, its december!). He was really really enjoying playing with it while Brad was putting it together, even without water! So we set it up in our garage and put a couple inches of water in it, and he had a ball. I loved watching him and can't wait for the weather to be warm enough to set it up on our back porch and hang out in the sunshine all. day. long. I know.. it's Texas.. that will probably happen in March! :)

2. We are in the process of making sure everything we own fits in our house (its so hard changing houses!) but we have gotten rid of, thanks to Craigslist, several things we decided we don't need in this home and won't use. PHEW. It feels so good to start getting our garage ready to be a garage and not a place to store furniture that we won't need here! (Bye-bye old TV stand and old TV!) Only a few more things to sell and we will be cleared out! I also just recently took a large box of donations to the Good Will. I suppose I should have done that while in NC, that way it wouldnt have had to be moved all the way to TX. Oh well, live and learn! 

3. I have been making a family cook book for my husbands mothers family and I am almost done! I have even tried a few of the recipes that were sent to me to include and LOVE them so far! I can't wait to have the rest of them in. I was hoping to get it distributed by XMas, but that is looking unlikely now... But I really think it will be  in the mail to everyone by Thursday this week (that is my goal) and so people should receive them right after Christmas. I hope they enjoy them as much as I will! It has been more work than I might have expected it would be, but definitely worth it!

4. Colton is obsessed with the Christmas tree and all of the ornaments. I have found ornaments in every random place because he steals them and hides them, silly boy! We have all of the nice, dont want them broken/lost ones up high. But the ones that are low enough to reach, he will take off the tree and walk around with one in each hand, banging them together. A few have been broken this way, but as long as I am watching him and making sure he doesn't get hurt I am okay with it. He just loves the ornaments so much!

(I saved the best one for last!)
5. We had a sonogram on Tuesday evening and found out.................. ITS A GIRL! I can hardly believe it! We are so excited to have a baby girl joining our family. I know that God has picked her out especially for our family and it will be so much fun to meet her in April, watch Colton play with her and interact with her, and just to generally love on her. I have been crocheting a blanket for her these past few days and I learned how to crochet little flowers, which are quite adorable. Thank you youtube tutorials! :) After Christmas, I will definitely be getting down to the business of figuring out her room. Right now it is storing everything Colton has out-grown - clothes, blankets, burp rags, baby swing, vibratey seat, baby carriers, nursing cover, etc. etc. etc. But I will need to organize it and figure out what is gender neutral enough to use for baby girl! I think almost everything but the crib bedding and the clothes will be, luckily!

Well that's all. Link on up! 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

We live in texas!!

Well 20 plus hours of driving and 3 days, and we made it!!! The Lord 100% took care of us on the drive and while looking for a house. We found a house we love and in the price range we hoped for! In only 2 days, we found the house, offered a bit less for rent, filled an application, and signed a lease :) phew! So we got to drive to ks for thanksgiving and it was so good to be there and see our loved ones!! We do know we are truly blessed.
Colton did so well during this stressful transition time! He slept well, napped well, ate well, adjusted well. He is so great! I love his relaxed nature.
Baby #2 is growing great! I am just now at 21 weeks and transitioning to maternity clothes. This pregnancy has been fairly easy so far! Very similar to my first pregnancy. I am a bit more tired but I know part of that is my days are not spent relaxing at all this time :)
We do get to find out the gender early next week and I just can't wait!!
Well I am typing on my iPhone and it's a little more difficult so I will leave you with some fun photos of colton during our traveling!

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Life Update

A picture update of our lives the past couple months:

We have enjoyed wonderful weather at the park with good friends!

Colton turned one!!! (More on his actual birthday later, but here are a couple shots from his pre-bday photo shoot)

He is SO handsome, don't you think? :)

 Colton would like to announce to the entire bloggity world: He gets to have a little sibling!! Yes, that's right. I am now in the beginning of my second trimester, with a baby due the middle of April! He is very excited! :)

Well I think that's all I have got for now. We have a couple more announcements, so stay tuned! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Etsy? NO way!

The other day, I decided to make Colton a pouf. Maybe you read a blog called the nester? Well the other week they did a whole post on poufs, I have had a pouf before in my life (I was in college... real furniture seemed way too expensive. poufs, on the other hand, not quite as much. and really comfy!) but it was HUGE. I am talking barely fit through a doorway huge. And so... the pouf project began. My darling husband and I went to the fabric store, found a medium-weight fabric at an acceptable price (luckily he was there... I would have picked a different one at double the price. and this one turned out FABULOUS!) and bought a zipper to go along with it. When we got home, I was just too darn excited to wait and so I went straight to work creating a pattern for this pouf. I wanted it simple but sturdy. Since it's for the play room, it didn't need to be fancy, but I did want it to be cute. It took about 5 hours for the whole thing, including figuring out a pattern, and this is how it turned out:

Lola thought it was for her. Silly cat!

But it was really for Colton, who has decided this is where he will drink his bottle now. :)

And so Brad and I got to chatting. And looking these up on Etsy. There is one person who is selling a pouf similar, filled with torn foam (thats the best way.. its extra comfortable that way) and she is charging $195 + $40 shipping. I can't imagine she is selling that many of them! Other than that, many people are selling bean bags anywhere from $75 (these are pretty small) to $150ish for the larger ones. Seems pricey, right? So then we thought.. why not sell poufs? I will probably be able to make one in less than 4-5 hours now that I have a pattern... hopefully! And so my Etsy shop has begun. It only has one thing, and I am still trying to figure out the banner. I created a tag for my poufs:

But haven't quite figured out how to turn this into an etsy banner. Paint just isn't cutting it! I think I need photoshop or something! :)

So friends. As part of being my valued bloggie friends (okay, most of you I am related to.) If you order a pouf, etsy convo me, let me know you saw my blog, and I will create a personal listing for you using the fabric we will pick out, and give you 20% off. (As soon as I figure out how to do all those things. I am sure just attempting it will work, right?)

Feel free to send this deal onto your own friends and family if they want one!

PS. my husband is stoked. he was all for this. I am not sure I have seen him as excited as he was on Sunday (when we were discussing etsy) in a long time. So hopefully this works out! :)

Lots of love to you all!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lunch time fun!

One of Colton's very favorite things to eat are plums. Usually I peel them and cut them into bite-size pieces for him to pick up, but today he stole the one I was eating. So I grabbed the camera and got some cute cute photos of him eating the plum "big boy style." Love that boy so much!

Have a blessed Wednesday, friends!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My New Bicycle.

I got a bicycle!!! I haven't had one since I was probably 8. Seriously. Well this year brad has really gotten into cycling, and I thought "what the heck... I could be a cyclist too!" So we went to the bicycle shop and picked out an amazing Comfort bike - the Trek Navigator 2.0 WSD in charcoal. And I love it. It came in while my mom was here and I got to ride it quite a bit that week. We also got a bike trailer to pull Colton in, and it's so stinkin' cute. He is really adorable in it and loves looking at everything passing us in a faster-than-walking/running pace.

And bonus - it's great exercise. I have lost 2 lbs since getting this bike (don't laugh - 2 lbs is an accomplishment to me! LOL).

Double bonus - it is so fun for Brad and I to go on evening rides together. We only go probably 5 or so miles, and we don't do a crazy fast pace -more of a pace where we can chat as we ride side-by-side. I have fallen in love. If only we lived close enough to a grocery store that I could get a basket and bike there when we needed just a few things. But alas - walmart is probably 8 miles away and through some streets that are too busy for me to feel comfortable pulling the baby on.

Check the link out so you can see a photo of my adorable bike!! :)

Colton's Smoothie

Daddy feeding Colton a fruit smoothie.

MMMM.... delicious.

Wow - I love smoothies!!!


I'm so sad... Please make more...

A Few Crafties

My mom was able to come spend 2 whole weeks hanging out with us (she works in a school.. summers are the best!) and, since she was here to help out with the babe.. I put her to work! We had projects upon projects upon projects. It was really fun! So here are a few before and afters of some of the things we did the first week she was here. (We did more, but that will have to be another post!)

This rocking chair was mine when I was tiny. My parents bought it for me at a craft fair when I was maybe 3. Now that I have a tiny one, my mom mailed it to me, and we decided to add cushions (hence.. get rid of the heart cut-out since I have a little boy) and change the finish. The plan was to paint it, but we ended up loving the look of the cushions with the wood. What do you think? I still have the paint we had wanted, it was a grayish-beige-ish color. Actually, the color of the end tables you will see in a minute!

BEFORE: (this chair has seen lots of love!)

What do you think... paint or no?

Recently, Brad and I purchased our FIRST bedroom set. But we did not like the side tables that came with the dressers we picked, so we opted not to buy them. They were HUGE. And, being as we may or may not live in this house past October, also - who knows where we may be next (a house with a tiny bedroom.. or a huge bedroom.. or an in-between bedroom.. or a long skinny room... or a square room... etc) we wanted small side tables. But we just haven't found any we love in the price range we picked. So we are using these ridiculous side tables I bought from a thrift store in college, they are homemade and stained that really ugly orange color. It looked hideous. I don't remember thinking they were so ugly when I was in college, but I suppose I overlooked lots of ugly furniture. Can you say dorm furniture? Ugh. And so, my mom and I used the paint we were going to use on the tiny rocking chair (also, the paint we used when Brad painted the guest bathroom months and months ago) and made them look dece. Take a look.

The before. I know youre shuddering at the ugliness.

And the AFTER:

Also.. I had been having the worst time finding a comforter/duvet/quilt/coverlet/something that I like for our bed, and my mom just happened to have this red one laying around, so she mailed it to me. We decided to make some pillow slip-covers to dress it up, the two patterned ones. The three pillows in the back actually came off my couch (I just recovered them.. a whole other post though!) and I tried them on my bed instead, and turns out - I love them! So... my couch is lacking until I make 3 more that will be just for my bed. Hopefully I can get to JoAnn's tomorrow and do that this weekend! What is your opinion on these pillows? Should I stick with this same exact fabric (it's a creamy colored linen) or should I switch it up? Should I do a grayish color to match the lamps or should I do a different color?

And the whole picture:

Notice my dog under the bench. That is her favorite spot to sleep. She's too funny.

A note about the paint color. I despise the paint color in the master bedroom. You can tell a little bit by looking at these photos, but look a little closer. The top is painted that light gray-blue color, while the bottom is painted a dark almost-teal color. I dont know what the owners were thinking when they painted this bedroom.. or if they used this as a room for their color-blind teenage boy, but it is ugly. I have been so close to shelling out the cash to paint a room I may or may not be in next year, but haven't done it. Mostly because I don't have a ladder, and the ceiling is peaked. If anyone has any brilliant ideas on how to disguise ugly ugly walls without paint, I am more than willing to listen and try them! We are technically not allowed to paint since this is a rental... but I don't really think it is fair of them to say that when the walls are so blatantly personal. I would understand more if they had painted the whole thing neutral, but they did not. The guest bathroom used to be striped bright yellow and pale yellow, with a ducky-wearing-flippers and rain jacket border. That was promptly changed, bathrooms aren't that difficult to paint. Our guest bedroom is lavendar with one dark purple wall. Luckily - i like the colors that they picked for the main living area, so as long as nobody goes into my bedroom or the guest bedroom, everything will be fine. :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Desert.

We've all been there. And probably hated every minute of it. We most likely begged God to bring us out of that place. To give us comfort, relief. And whether or not He brought you (me) out of that place, you (I) will probably, at some point, return.

The desert.

Webster’s Online Dictionary defines desert as: 1) arid land with usually sparse vegetation; an area of water apparently devoid of life 2) a wild uninhabited and uncultivated tract 3) a desolate or forbidding area

It doesn't sound very appealing, does it? And yet, I bet you can relate. I know I can. I have had times in my life where I felt like I was living in a desert, spiritually. My prayer life has been dry. I have been devoid of life. It has been desolate and uninhabited, my world.

I get these emails every day, from a website called .. Maybe you've heard of it? And they are up-lifting, encouraging, and most days I look forward to that email hitting my inbox. Last week (or sometime) one of these devotionals was about the desert, and she changed my complete perspective. Let me tell you about it.

"If you search for scriptures throughout the book of Exodus you notice that God called His people to: worship me in the desert (Exodus 7:16), journey into the desert (Exodus 3:18), hold a festival to me in the desert (Exodus 5:1). They looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud(Exodus 16:10)."

Rock my world, dear friends at incouragement. I have never put this together. The desert doesn't have to be a dry, desolate place. The Lord LOVES to take situations that seem hopeless, and make them hopeful. He loves to take places that are desolate, and make them fruitful.

"I believe during the “dry times” we learn to seek God daily, ask Him questions, get to know Him more intimately, and remember not to take Him for granted. He stretches our faith muscles, convicts our hearts, challenges our trust and just like every good workout leaves us a little sore. But in the long run, we are fit for the next challenge. We are stronger than when we started. We realize even more how much we need Him in our daily lives, how much He has to offer and how much we count on Him."

And so.. this affected me more than I can tell you. I feel like I am in a desert place right now. (And this is hard for me to admit). And sometimes, I am really sad.

Which is dumb, to be honest. I have been blessed beyond measure, and I know that. My husband is absolutely amazing, supportive, loving, encouraging, etc. I have a beautiful son, and I can't even explain the love I have for him. My husband has a great job as a Captain in the United States Army, which allows me to stay home with our son. We live in a beautiful home, in a beautiful state, with great friends.

And yet, here I am. My whole family lives in the Midwest, a good 20 hour drive from me. Seriously - every aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent, niece, nephew, etc., all within 2 bordering states. Growing up where I did - with all my relatives all around all the time - was amazing. I loved every minute of it and had big dreams of doing the same for my kids. We ate dinner at my Grandparents every Sunday evening, and I can't tell you what that meant to me. To be surrounded by loving, encouraging people. I wanted the same thing for my future children. I just knew it was to happen.

But God had different plans for me. Plans that are bigger than me. Plans that are to stretch me in ways I never knew I could be. And these plans did not (at least so far, and for what I can tell about the future) include me being comfortable in the midwest. And so this KS homebody, fell in love with a soldier, embraced the army lifestyle, and is on her 3rd state with him in our 3 years of marriage. And I do love every minute of it. I wouldn't trade any of it. And oh boy is that man worth it.

But occasionally - I am reminded that Colton will not be as close to his cousins as I was. He will not know his extended family in the same way that I did - will not feel like his grandparents house was his second home. And lately, this has all hit me pretty hard.

Thankfully, I got that email at the right time. And my whole perspective has changed. I do not have to view the desert as a bad place, fight tooth and nail to get out of it and move into my "oasis." (note: I do not mean this to say I have been fighting to move back to KS, only to say I have been fighting the Lord to bring me out of this place) I can embrace it. I can worship the Lord with all my soul, with all my might, bring glory to His name, while walking through the desert. I can even dance in the desert.

And I will. I will use this time, where I feel distant and weary, to worship Him. To seek His will. To know that being where He wants me to be, will bring more glory to His name, and have a greater Kingdom impact, than being where I want me to be. Or where I feel like being.

I don't know how easy this will be, but I am trying.

Dear friends, are you in the same place? I would love to pray for you. Shoot me an e-mail or leave me a comment.

brad.jessica2009 at gmail dot com

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Colton at the Beach

Just a few pics of our beach baby!!

This was the spot we staked. Notice Colton in his cute baby wet suit :)
Baby Toesies in the sand!

It was so fun spending time with Daddy!

Just walkin' along the beach!!!

Needless to say, we loved the beach. And we can't wait to go back in July! Colton kept trying to eat the sand, or taste it, or just put it in his mouth. Silly baby did not realize that it was yucky! So we kept having to pull it out, and stick his hand in the water to rinse it clean. But he really enjoyed "walking" with Daddy down the coast, splashing in the waves, watching the all the people run by, play frisbee, and seeing the wedding that was happening right next door on the beach.

Best part of North Carolina. Right here. :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Its Grilling Season

Hello, dear bloggie friends!

As you know, Spring means grilling. At least in my house! I love how easy it is, and how healthy it is, to grill up some meat and veggies. MMM, mmm.

But I am afraid I am in somewhat of a grilling rut. I always grill the same things (and they are delicious!) But I am anxious to break out of my grilling shell.

So I have a favor. What are your favorite things to grill, and how do you prepare them? Do you marinate them? Add any extra flavor? Or are they best on their own?

Leave me a comment, shoot me an e-mail, write it in a blog post (don't forget to comment so I know to look!) And please, please, please let me know!!

Thank you, thank you! :)

brad.jessica at gmail dot com

Saturday, June 4, 2011

delicious pork chop marinade!

Okay y'all.. I'm not a big pork chop fan, usually. My mom makes these chops that have noodles and a marinara sauce, and she bakes it... I don't know all the details of it but its the only pork chops I have liked. Until now.
I bought some at the commissary and thought "well.. I probably wont like them.. but I know Brad loves pork chops so we will grill 'em" but then I found this marinade recipe, and tweaked it a bit to fit our tastes.. and its so good I just had to put the recipe on the blog. So now - this could be what's for dinner tonight (as RachaelRay would say)

(Why do pictures of meat never look appetizing. This picture does not do it justice.)

The Last Pork Chop Marinade You'll Ever Want to Eat:
-1/4 cup olive oil
-2 & 1/2 Tbsp Soy sauce
-1 Tbsp Steak Seasoning (Recipe to follow)

Steak Seasoning:
-2Tbsp Paprika
-2Tbsp pepper
-1Tbsp salt
-1 Tbsp garlic powder
-1 Tbsp onion powder
-1 Tbsp coriander
-1/2 Tbsp red pepper

Directions: Mix Olive oil, sauce, and 1T seasoning in a large freezer baggie. Marinate chops for 3-7 hours. Grill. (I dont know the grilling details, that is my hubbies job. But these chops turn out to be the juiciest, most flavorful I have ever tasted. Honestly.)

Let me know if you try it!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

ETC June 2

Link on up, Friends! You know you want to embrace the camera! :)

We had friends from Fort Benning, GA come up to visit us over Memorial Day weekend, and it was so much fun. Their little boy is 11 months, he's got exactly 3 months (to the day) on Colton, and already they were having so much fun interacting. Jaxson was a quite a bit more mobile than Colton, but it was a fun peek into our lives when Colton starts cruising.

I convinced Amber to take a photo of the 3 of us before Church on Sunday - I feel like it is so hard to get all three of us in a photo together, so I grab the opportunity when I can!

I hope you're all well! :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day

Pictures from Brads redeployment ceremony

This was part of his unit, waiting to be released to their families.

Our 1st kiss since r&r

12 Months apart - and FINALLY together again. :)

A big thank you goes out to all those service men and women who have given their lives so my freedom can be secured. I am honored, I am humbled, and I am forever grateful to be an American - to be protected by those who sacrifice so much so that I may go to Church without persecution, so that I may have opinions that do not always agree with our government, so that I might live knowing that I am free.

This Memorial Day, I hope that you had a wonderful day off of work, I hope that you had friends to eat with, to drink with, to celebrate with. But I do hope you remembered those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that you have the opportunity to do all those things you love. I am forever humbled and forever grateful for them and their families, and will continue to try to never take my freedom for granted. I have seen the sacrifice those have made first-hand, have wept with fellow military wives as they have told me their stories of the sacrifice their husbands have made, and I am forever impacted because of them.

Freedom is not free. But I am proud to be an American, and proud to be an army wife. I know my husband has put his life on the line many times so that we can be an amazing, free country, and I am very thankful that he has made it back from war zones to be with me.

So please, if you didn't get a chance to yesterday, join me in a moment of silence honoring our fallen heroes.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mother's Day & ETC 05/12

Hello, folks. How was your mother's day? Mine was well, thank you.

Brad woke me up with the smell of sausage and pancakes. MMM... so delicious. Quite a wonderful change from my normal cereal morning :)

We had a baby dedication at Church. Where the pastor called me Jennifer. And I decided not to correct him, we only know a small handful of people there (seriously like 3) so nobody would have noticed his slip. And Brad and I giggled under our breaths about it.

But it was beautiful. And something I desperately wanted to do. Every night as I rock Colton I pray that he would grow to know the Lord in such a real and meaningful way. I pray that he would thirst for the Lord and live for Him. Everything else seems so trivial compared to this - and so this is my daily prayer for him. And this is why the baby dedication meant so much to me. Of all things I could pray for him (health, happiness, successfulness, contentedness, etc.) this one is of eternal importance, and this one takes care of all others. And so I pray for him - I beg the Lord to get his grasp on Colton early - to never let go - to put people in his life that will point him towards Jesus - to help Brad and I to be shining lights of who the Lord is and how to trust Him as we parent Colton - and I have faith, I believe, I trust that since this prayer is in His will, it will be answered.

And after Church, Brad made me lunch. Okay - he made me a chicken salad sandwhich, with the chicken salad I had made the day before. But the point is, I didn't have to make it for us. He assembled the lunch, set the table, and let me be lazy. The rest of the day was spent laughing with Colton, going on a walk, hanging out, playing games, etc. And definitely not worrying about how I hadn't cleaned at all. Brad did the dishes and we decided that the house could wait and we would spend the day just enjoying our little family of 3. It was oh so perfect.

I didn't even have to make dinner. Brad ordered Pizza Hut. My husband is so good to me.

I forgot the best part.

I didn't have to change even one diaper the whole day.

Not that I really mind changing diapers, but since it has become such a part of every day life, it was nice to remember what it was like to not look at poop every day. And know that I will be there again and will probably miss it when I am. That is probably when it will be time to consider trying for another, I suppose. :)

Oh, and I got flowers. Which I never get flowers. They were so unexpected because i got them on Friday.

Seriously yall... I have the best husband in the world. Ever. And he gave me the best mother's day. I know it wasn't lavish but it was exactly what I wanted - a day to enjoy being the family of 3 that we are. A day to not worry about the house or what we'll eat.

I will leave you with some pictures. :)

On our way to Church for the baby dedication. Such a happy baby!

Right after Church. Man what a good lookin' man I've got. :)

I wanted a kissing picture... and this is how it went. He's so funny.

Colton and I on our back deck.

These are my flowers! They are beautiful aren't they?

That's all for now. See you next time bloggity world!