Clothed with Grace: 2015

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top Posts in 2015

Today I thought I'd share a post highlighting the post read posts of 2015, the link to the original post is below each picture.

My most viewed post this year was on How to Shop on thredUp. I loved writing this and thredup ended up sharing it on their Facebook page, which was really cool.  It still remains my favorite place to shop!

My favorite perk of thredUp is that you can get $20 off your first order by shopping through this link. It's a great day to get some free clothes!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Time

Today I thought I'd share a bit about what our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was like.  We ended up hosting both, luckily we don't have huge families.  Our Christmas Eve day started with early morning snuggles and this proud brother.  Grant has been so good with Hannah! The upside to hosting was he was able to get a lot of attention from a lot of different people. I was a bit worried about how he'd transition, but it's been great!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Nightingale


Before reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, I'm ashamed to admit Kristin Hannah wasn't even a blip on my radar, now I want to devour everything she's ever written. Yeah, this book was that good! In year's past I read Sarah's Key which gave me a small look into what life was like in France during the German occupation of WWII, but it focused more on the concentration camp aspect. In The Nightingale we meet two sisters: Vianne and Isabelle both in very different stages in their life. Vianne is a young mother whose husband has gone off to fight against Germany, only to become a prisoner of war, and Isabelle is 19 and headstrong, ready to go fight if only she were allowed.  

Each girl has a very different, yet powerful experience during the war. Vianne has two very different German soldiers stay at her house-both which impact her greatly, and Isabelle finds her own way to help make a difference during the war by working with the French Resistance.  

If you're looking for a book, this one (and the one I wrote about yesterday) should definitely be added to your list. It is powerful, moving, and tells a story that longs to be read!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy Baby Wrap

It has been a whirlwind of a week! Hannah was born just a week ago and we've been busy most of the time with family-that's what happens when you have a Christmas baby!  Prior to Hannah being born I knew I wanted to try out a baby wrap, as going on outings with both Grant and Hannah could be tricky, and that darn carrier is so awkward to carry around and doesn't fit perfectly in all carts either.

I was excited to find out about Happy Baby Wrap through Instagram and excited to try it out!  When my wrap arrived it had super easy to read directions and comes with a little bag to carry the wrap in, so it's easy to store in the diaper bag.

With having a lot of people over, there  was a lot to do.  Now, my mom and sister were super helpful, but on Christmas Eve day there was a lot of action, and it was really too loud for Hannah to have any desire to sleep in her room (Luckily, it's much better since then). Now, I love a good baby snuggle as much as the next girl, but it's just not feasible to sit and let her sleep on my lap all day long (as temping as that sounds), so it was nice to give the wrap a try as well as help get things ready for snacks and dinner.

Hannah was a huge fan and literally fell asleep immediately upon getting situated in it. Now, I'm not planning on using this on a daily basis at home, but it's nice to know that she likes it, so I'm ready when the day comes that I need to get dinner on the table and Hannah is having a rough time. I do look forward to using this on outings like crazy. Grant wants to go to the Children's Museum this week and it would be the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl there; so much better then trying to push around stroller with her carrier attached.


If you're looking for a great wrap option, I highly recommend Happy Baby Wrap, I think you'll be pleased. And, can I just say-those cheeks!!!!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Hannah's Birth Story

As those of you who follow me on Social Media know, our lives changed dramatically Monday, Dec. 21st.  Our daughter, Hannah Elizabeth was born.  As this, Hannah's first pictures shows, Grant is very excited! This picture was taken at about 8:30 at night, shortly after Hannah was born.  Today I thought I'd share a little bit about her birth story and what our first few days were like.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What Alice Forgot


It's not often I read a book that I say "You just have to read this!" However, What Alice Forgot is one of those books.  I'm a huge Fan of Laine Moriarty, and her reading never disappoints! 

At the beginning of this book we are introduced to Alice right after she has fallen at hit her head at the gym.  She comes to only to find out that she is not 29-but 39 and she's forgotten the last decade of her life. Although she first thinks of her husband, Nick, she quickly learns that they are getting a divorce.  In her last memory she is 14 weeks pregnant-now she has three kids she doesn't remember at all.  

I'm sure you've all heard the saying, "We're like wine, we get better with age," but what if that's not the case?  What if the person we've become is not all who we thought we'd be, or are proud to be.  This is Alice's reality.  As she tries to navigate the waters of her "new" life it causes us as readers to think about our own lives, and who we have become.  For Alice, maybe she needed to forgot the last 10 years to remember who she really is?  Moriarty beautifully crafts this page-turner that should definitely be added to the top of your must read list!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

One Last Time

I hadn't planned on any more posts while pregnant, but when this poncho came in the mail Friday, I wanted to wear it Saturday, so here you go, one more look at me pregnant. I really do love this poncho and I hope I still love them on my non-pregnant body too.  This one is of really good quality and was perfect for running around doing errands without needing to wear a coat.  

Our Saturday morning routine is almost always a trip to the library as well as Target for "necessities." We did a bingo card for books, which the library does as part of the summer reading program, as well as over Christmas.  Once it's full, the kids get to pick a prize.  This time was extra exciting, because one of the activities was a game at the library, and Grant got to pick a free book for a prize. He chose a Curious George book, which is pretty much his favorite cartoon.  Then once his bingo card was full he got to pick a prize, and although they have all kinds of different things, Grant chose a hardcover Polar Express book, score, those babies cost $20! 

If Grant's day wasn't good enough, we went to Target and he ran into two of his best friends from school, the kids was in hog heaven.  It was a nice weekend and the last one we will have as a family of three. A new chapter has started!

Monday, December 21, 2015

8 Things I Won't Miss About Being Pregnant

Today is the big day, I'm getting induced and we couldn't be more excited! So, I thought I'd share a post about things I WON'T be missing about pregnancy.  I hope this doesn't scare those of you who aren't moms about of having a child, because trust me, it's worth it. However, here's a list of things I'm excited to say goodbye to:


1.  Taking a bunch of medicine- As someone who rarely gets a headache, I've had to take five different medicines daily for various pregnancy related issues, from acid reflux to nausea.  I am ready to say goodbye to these!

2.  Compression Hose- they are the pits!  Although they really do help with swelling, they are really uncomfortable and it's not like you can wash them every night, so I'm constantly worried I have stinky feet. : (

3. My fake wedding ring- I haven't been able to wear my real ring for months and my fake one from JCP is looking pretty bad.  It'll be nice to have my hands back to normal and to be able to wear my real ring again!

4. Sleeping on my side- I'm a stomach sleeper, so adjusting to side-sleeping is not my favorite thing. I toss and turn a lot, so I'm excited to be able to sleep like I want to again, and hopefully not wake up fifteen times each night- I'll be happy with just once to twice to feed Hannah-trust me, that'll be an improvement!

5. On that note- carpel tunnel. I haven't been able to feel my finger tips for months and it's the worst at night. My hands are literally asleep and tingly all night long. It's kind of the pits.

6. Shoes not fitting- I haven't been able to wear over half my shoes for most of my pregnancy and did buy, get c/o, or with thredUp credits *cough* five pair of boots this fall.  I reeaaaallly hope my feet go back to normal like they did last time or I'm going to have a lot of shoes to replace!

7.  Maternity clothes- bye, bye! Although I really tried to still feel good in what I wore, I really miss my skirts, normal sweaters, tops, and dresses.  I already pulled them back down from our third row above in our closet, and I'm clomping at the bit to wear them again. I know some won't fit for awhile, but I know I'll be able to wear a lot of them.

8. People saying "Haven't you had that baby yet?????" Believe me it's felt like a long time to too, I don't really need the reminder....

I'll share pictures of our sweet girl as soon as I can, probably first on Instagram, so if you're not following, feel free to follow me there. : )




Friday, December 18, 2015

After Baby Wishlist

This week I did what some of you might think is crazy, but I put all my non-maternity clothes back in my closet in preparation for not looking like I'm smuggling a watermelon around with me.  Here are some things I'm loving right now that I look forward to wearing soon:

1: Heels like these ones. I've had so many of my shoes put away for months because they simply don't fit!

2. Skirts like one: I love a good skirt and this one is gorgeous.  I feel like so many of my dressy/polished outfits have been unworn my me for so long, I'm really looking forward to dressing up again and this floral one is gorgeous!

3.  Normal jeans like these: I love a good legging or pointe pant, (which is basically leggings with a seam) but I miss normal jeans....well normal pants in general.

4. Crew neck sweaters like this one: One of my favorite go-to winter looks is a crew neck sweater and a vest, I was pretty excited to put mine back within reach and I adore this snowflake one!

5. Normal dresses like this one. I love dresses and it's been killing me now to wear so many of the ones I have. I love the faux leather pockets on this one too!

Wish List

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Faith Like a Child

Recently Grant is becoming more interested in understanding God. He has also gotten frustrated at church because he wants to take communion and be baptized.  I love his interest and enthusiasm and he's told me he has Jesus in his heart, which I just love. I want to take him at his word, however , not undervalue what it is that Christ did for each of us on the cross, so Brian and I have told him that we need to wait to do communion and baptism until he gets a bit older ,and we know he really understands and accepts that Jesus died for his sins.

That being said, Grant has "baptized" himself in the bathtub.  One day I walked in and heard him come up from being underwater saying "Raised to walk in newness of life!" This makes my heart melt, however, I'm not sure that's how it works, kiddo.  I love that his is getting a heart for Jesus and really want to help him cultivate that.

Over the weekend we were are the Christian bookstore picking out a few things and we came to an area that had a lot of different crosses, some of which still had Jesus crucified on them.  Grant just got so overwhelmed and started crying. I asked him what was wrong and he said he was just so sad that Jesus had to die, and why did the bad soldiers have to do that to him? I reminded him of the truth that Jesus isn't still on that cross, he rose again and is in heaven, and that he did it just for us!

We ended up picking out a cross ornament for Grant to get, but what really stuck me was the pure emotions Grant felt...the sadness for the death of someone who did nothing wrong....the questioning as to why anyone would want to heart Jesus. It made me think about how lightly I can sometimes take things. My emotions rarely get this raw. Jesus said "Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." In Mathew 18:2-4 Jesus says,"Truly, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of God." 

I want my faith to look more like Grant's does. I want to feel all the feels and be just as devastated by his death as Grant is. I think God is definitely moving in Grant's life, just like he wants to move in our lives. Sometimes I think we really need to see things through the eyes of a child. Brian and I will definitely continue to nurture Grant's faith, and I know it will become clear when Grant really does "get it," and I can't wait for the time when he will be baptized and take communion. 


Cozy outfits like this are totally my jam right now, and at nearly 40 weeks pregnant, they ought to be, right? Last year I got a tunic like this from Target and they sold out before I could get my hands on another one.  So, this year they went on sale over Black Friday weekend and I snatched one up, then they went on sale again and I got two more for good measure. It's obviously not maternity, but the stretchy cotton is great and I love the fit of it when I'm not pregnant. For size reference, this is a medium, so they are pretty roomy for the non-prego woman. I think while I'm at home with Hannah this winter for maternity leave tops like this will be perfect, so why not have four right? ;)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

How to Wear a Military Vest

If I had to name one thing in my wardrobe that has gotten worn more than anything else, it's my military vest. It has been so versatile!  Today I thought I'd share some ways I've worn it, and I have some great options down below for you, if you'd don't have a military vest for yourself yet.

One way I love to wear it in winter is with a scarf and sweater, like seen below.



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Life Lately

This is a big week, Hannah is due Thursday! Life is about ready to change in a big way, but today I thought I'd give you an update as to what we've been doing the last few weeks.

First off, I am soooo sick of maternity clothes and I can't wait to wear normal clothes again, and shoes, half my shoes haven't been worn in months because I can't get them on. I have been wearing outfits like this one below like crazy.  I adore this cardigan I got from Pink Blush Maternity, it's sold out, but there are a ton of other great options, and the best part, I can wear this once Hannah is here too!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Countdown

Hannah is officially due on Thursday, and to say I'm ready to be done would be the understatement of the year. I'm not so much anxious as I am excited. We plan to induce next Monday if she doesn't decide to show up on her own before then. I have her bags packed and mine as much as I can, without waiting to throw in my "getting ready" stuff.

I admit I have been feeling really tired and am not feeling quite as patient at school as I wished I was. Luckily the kids are working on a project that is pretty independent, so other than them bringing their computers to me to ask questions, I've been taking it pretty easy. I will admit that during my plan time I pretty much stare at the wall, as 1:00 hits and my brain seems to turn off. I have my plans ready to go for my long-term sub and have things pretty darn organized in my classroom too, so I'm feeling good about that.

I did one more mass clean-up at home last weekend, which will hopefully mean we can go a few weeks without me having to clean the bathrooms or sheets, etc.  I'm thankful Brian is a good cook, as he'll be in charge or that for a while while we're getting adjusted at home once Hannah gets here.

I'm not sure what blogging will look like after this week.  I don't have anything planned ahead of time, because honestly, I feel like the good year blimp and doing any more maternity photos after this week is not going to happen. I plan to post about Hannah's appearance as quickly as I can, but it seems like with the holidays I probably won't have time to post, just like you all won't have time to read. I do plan to try to get back into a normal routine as soon as we're settled though, as I really do enjoy this hobby.


As for this outfit, I am crazy about these boots!  I've been loving the fringe trend this year and have had my eye on these. I had some credit to thredUp (use this link to get $20 off your first purchase), and I came across these boots for only $40 and they came like new and since I had credits they were free.  Seriously, thredUp is a goldmine, if you haven't tried it yet you totally should!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to Wear: A Herringbone Vest

I've had my Herringbone vest for a couple of years and I've worn it like crazy! It's hard to believe this is it's third year of popularity, but JCrew Factory is still selling them like crazy! Today I thought I'd share some inspiration on how to wear this vest from my archives.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Poncho Love

Ponchos are definitely one of my favorite trends right now and this one comes from of all places, Costco.  It's super comfy and cute and was only $15. Brian raised his eye brow as I put it in the cart, but I've already worn it a handful of times.  I'd be lying if I said I was wearing anything besides leggings these days, but I think this would be cute with jeans too, regardless this will definitely be on repeat all season!

Also, I'm loving these earrings from Nickel and Suede!  I got to meet Kilee at a blog conference a few years back and since then have really enjoyed following her blog and seeing Nickel and Suede really launch into a huge business!  I normally wear a simple diamond stud, but made a point of visiting a store where she has pieces for sale while I was in K.C. recently.  They are light as a feather and so perfect!  I'm asking for another pair for Christmas!


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ready for Christmas

I love when the house is decorated for Christmas! Today I thought I'd share it with you all. 

Our tree is artificial, but I love the faux berries and pine cones on it.  Most of the ornaments have come from a gift shop in my home town....along with a lot of the other decorations.  They seriously have such a great day for a country/vintage style!


Monday, December 7, 2015

Five Things to do Before Hannah Gets Here:

I made this list a few weeks ago and thought it would be fun to share in a post today.  Our life is really going to be changing soon, so I really wanted to be ready!

1.  Go do one more fun activity with Grant, just the two of us. Grant is so excited for Hannah to get here and I mentioned to him the other day how Grandma will come for a few days once Hannah here to go do fun things with him, so he doesn't get bored being at home.  He replied, that Hannah was going to come along with him and Grandma.  I love how excited he is for his sister, but I know it'll be an adjustment, so I want to do one more special thing with him before she gets here.

Status: Done! Grant and I went and saw The Good Dinosaur and it was sooo good!  We actually planned to see The Peanuts Movie, but they were having technical issues, so we got a free upgrade to The Good Dinosaur in 3D.  This was our first one and it was so cool!


Thursday, December 3, 2015

38 Week Bumpdate


Weeks along: 38 weeks 

Size of the baby: 6.8 lbs and 19 1/2 inches

Must haves: I still haven't really had cravings, I am drinking a ton of water, though.

Sleep: I'm actually sleeping pretty well!

Baby Movement: Hannah is all over the place, I don't remember Grant moving like this, but it was five years ago...

Gender: It's a girl!

Name: Hannah Elizabeth

Weight Gain: 22 pounds

Challenges: I think being patient is the hardest part, we are so ready for her to be here!  

 Best moment of the week: Grant picked up a Christmas present for Hannah, her first dolly.  It was really sweet.  When I told him that he'd probably have to help her open her presents, he said he'd let her try on her own first, then help if she needed it.  That kid is a hoot!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Be Still

With two weeks until my due date, I feel like my head is just spinning with things to do. I'm a planner and I like to have things ready to go, and with navigating plans at school and home, as well as Christmas shopping, I feel like my brain just keeps going!  Can anyone else relate?  On top of that I still want to keep up with this space in blogland, but as I sat down today I had not idea what to write about.  Then I was reminded to "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10).  The holidays can be such a crazy time of year anyway, but this year is extra crazy for me. I let out a big sigh of relief when these words came to me.  God has it covered and everything that needs to be done will, and me rushing around and stressing won't do any good.  I feel like this reminder could do us all some good.  Let's reflect on what matters most this holiday season. For me that's my family, friends, and my faith. Everything else is secondary and will take care of itself.


 I just recently got this tribal jacket from Shein.  The price is great and I'm really happy with the quality too. For reference, this is a large, which I think will be just fine (once I'm not pregnant), but I'd say if you're larger than a size 8, I'd probably pass on this.  A lot of maternity clothes have been really casual, so I really like getting to dress up with this maternity blouse and jacket to feel put together for these last couple of weeks of pregnancy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Grownup


I'm a big fan of Gillian Flynn, so when Goodreads notified me that The Grownup was coming out, I got my rear to the library to get my name on the list to read it.  Somehow I lucked out and got it first.  I was surprised to find it was actually a short story, not a novel and it took me all of one whole pedicure to read it.  

Like Flynn's other books, there is definitely some shock and vulgarity added into the story line, so if that's not something you can handle in books you read, this book probably isn't for you. Our narrator, who remains nameless, has a less than appropriate job in the back of a palm reading shop, then due to an injury becomes a palm reader.  She's always been good at reading people and she and her mom had a racket growing up where they pretended to be homeless in order to beg on the streets, very successfully, to be exact.  This ability to read people on the streets would come in handy with her new job.

Things change when a wealthy lady comes in with worries that her house in haunted.  Thinking only of the money, our narrator decides to "cleanse" the house of any evil spirit that might be there.  Things don't really turn out as she would expect though, and people might not be who they really seem to be.  If you're looking for a quick, but intense read, this book is for you. Check out The Grownup for the full scoop!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Hannah's Nursery

Things are finally complete in Hannah's Nursery, so I thought I'd share with you all today.  We didn't paint the walls, and we did a lot of bargain shopping, and I'm really happy with the results!  Now, just a few shorts weeks and she'll be here!

I'm crazy about the monogrammed letters for above Hannah's crib! I got them from Jane.com, but they came from Whimsy Timber. I painted them white, and hung them by a bow...the bow was a lot more work than I thought it would be. #notabowboss.

I found the mobile and blanket at Target and this time we opted for a simple crib sheet and bed skirt. Last time we went all out on bedding, and the comforter was basically never used and the bumpers were up for like a month.  We'e learned our lesson this time around.

We also found the bed set on Craigslist for a steal.  It's solid wood and converts into a toddler bed and full-sized bed too!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Getting Ready for Christmas with Famous Footwear




It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is tomorrow and Christmas is just a month away.  We have even more urgency this year with our Christmas shopping, since Hannah is due the week before Christmas.  I recently has the chance to go visit my sister in K.C. and we did a bunch of Christmas shopping too. One thing was was on my list was a pair of Sperry Top-Sider Gosling Waterproof Rainboots from Famous Footwear.  The feel great, the quality is amazing, and the classic styling will keep me wearing them for many years.  Don't worry, I'm going to wrap them up under the tree and act surprised. ;)

While shopping at Famous Footwear, mom mom picked out these Asics "from my dad." I also have a pair of Asics I love, and Famous Footwear has so many affordable options to choose from.  Grant also added these Batman shoes to his wish list.  What can I say, Superhero shoes are where it's at!

When it comes to holiday shopping, shoes always seem to be on our list, and with Famous Footwear, we can find everything we need in one place!


Famous Footwear has also added the #ohsofamous style gallery. It's a fun place to get style inspiration, see how others have styled Famous Footwear shoes, and to show your #ohsofamous moments.  Make sure to stop over there and check it out!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thankful

With Thanksgiving being this, it's reminded me I have a lot to be thankful for, today I thought I'd share a few things.
  1. I'm thankful for such a loving and supportive family and a mom and dad that live so close.  
  2. I'm thankful that this pregnancy is coming to an end, I just can't wait to meet Hannah!
  3. I'm thankful for Christmas decorations, getting them out is so much fun, and I love how the house feels during Christmas time.
  4. I'm thankful for the Elf on the Shelf. Mr. Jingles was a huge hit last year and it's so fun to see the joy in Grant's eyes when Mr. Jingles show up in the morning with a small treat or surprise.  Mr. Jingles also does some pretty funny things that Grant gets a good laugh over too!
  5. I'm also thankful for all the collaborations and "perks" that come with being a blogger.  I've gotten to work with some great brands and gotten to try a lot great products too. It can be easy to take all the good stuff for granted, and I don't want to do that! 


Ponchos are definitely one of my favorite trends right now.  The are great for my growing belly and super cozy too. It's even better when I can score the pieces I love at a great price- You all know I'm all about a deal and Brandzaffiar is a great places to find the best deals for all your favorite stores, all in one place. I'm a big fan of Nordstroms and with Brandzaffiar I was able to scope all the best deals. I found this poncho (this one is similar), at a great price, and was able to save money due to Brandzaffiar.  Before doing any online shopping, I'd definitely check out Brandzaffiar  to get the best deals on you can, at the stores you love!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pink Blush + A Giveaway

I am very thankful that my pregnancy is coming to an end, but am also thankful for Pink Blush Maternity, whose clothes have helped me be stylish during this time in my life. Up to this point, my favorite maternity pieces were the ones I featured here, also from Pink Blush Maternity, so I was super excited when they asked to team up again, as well as have me host a Black Friday Giveaway with a $75 store credit to Pink Blush or Pink Blush Maternity.

I love how stylish and affordable Pink Blush's clothes are, and the quality is phenomenal too! This time around I chose some pieces that will make me feel great during this final month, but I'll be able to wear them afterwards too. First I chose this cardigan. I adore the colors and tribal pattern.  It's super soft and cozy and I know I'll wear it like crazy!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

KEEP Collective

This last weekend Grant, my mom, and I went to visit my sister in Kansas City while our husbands went hunting.  It was a great time and my sister was nice enough to take my pictures too.  Outfits like this have become my new uniform, but my favorite part has to be my new bracelet from KEEP Collective designer, Nichole.

 KEEP Collective was new to me before Nichole contacted me, but I'm so glad she did, because it's pretty much my new favorite thing.  It's totally customized and affordable jewelry, and it's pretty amazing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My Story

The Song My Story by Big Daddy Weave has been running through my constantly.  If you do anything today, please take a few minutes to listen to this song and watch the video.

         

Here's a look at the lyrics:

If I told you my story
You would hear Hope that wouldn't let go
And if I told you my story
You would hear Love that never gave up
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life, but it wasn't mine

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

If I told you my story
You would hear victory over the enemy
And if I told you my story
You would hear freedom that was won for me
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life overcome the grave

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long

For the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell
For the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long


I find so much power in these words, and it's also very humbling to me as well. I spend a lot of time talking each day, often times about things that really have no value. But how often do I tell my story? I don't think this necessarily means I need to tell my story of how Jesus redeemed me everyday, but my life should be an example of how he's redeemed me. I was once lost, but now am found.


Before I was saved my Jesus' grace I thought I had it all figured out. I believed in the idea of God, but there was no relationship, and I didn't really see a need to make room in my life for Him, things were going pretty well with me in the driver's seat. I thought I had it all figured out, little did I know how much I was missing out on. Once it became clear to me that I did in fact have a hole in my life that couldn't be filled by friends, family, clothes, Starbucks, or entertainment, and that what I really needed was Jesus, my life changed for the better.

Then: I went it alone without hope or guidance.
Now: I know God has me covered and that his plans are better than anything I could come up with one my own.

Then: I tried to find fulfillment in things of this world.
Now: I know that I can't take it with me, and although I still enjoy the things of this world, I know true fulfillment will not come from those things.

Then: I was all about me and what others could do for me.
Now: I know this world is not about me, but what I can do to make it better.

I don't know what your story is, but I'd love to hear it. Maybe you don't have a story yet, but have a hunger for one. Turn to Jesus, because with His help, your story will be better than you ever imagined.  Invite him into your life and watch yourself be changed. 


Buffalo check with my herringbone vest is one of my favorite combinations. I'm also loving the open button-down trend....it's not like I could button it if I wanted to though. ; ) I've been wearing a lot of outfits like this lately and these Born boots I scored from thredUp are seriously one of my favorite finds! Use this link to get $20 off your first purchase.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Justice for Sarah


Last week I finished reading Justice for Sara by Erica Spindler. This page-turning mystery is the perfect book to curl up with. 

It starts in present where Katherine McCall has decided to move back to her hometown, a town where was a acquitted for the murder of her sister, Sara, a decade earlier. Sara, a young teacher, became Katherine's guardian after their parents died in a car crash. Teenage Katherine is rebellious and constantly battles with Sarah, so when Sara is murdered all eyes turn to Katherine.

In this chilling novel, Spindler gives us a look into the lives of each of the potential suspects, letting us decide who has really committed this heinous crime. In a book that won't disappoint, Justice for Sara, should be added to your reading list today.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Diaper Bag Essentials


As I've been getting ready for Hannah's appearance, one thing I've gotten ready is her diaper bag.  Last time around with Grant I started by carrying way to much stuff, so this time around it's all about the essentials.  I found a new (to me) diaper bag at Big Wheels to Butterflies; I'd planned on using Grant's, but when I got it out it had all these mysterious stains inside I don't remember being there five years ago.  I totally lucked out too, because this bag is still selling for $40 at Toys R Us! When picking a bag, I think it's important that it has a lot of pockets inside and out, to help with organization.  The purse I'm currently carrying is one big bag, and I can never find what I need.. When it comes to a baby, you need to be able to get to things quickly and with one hand. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak

Just when I think I can't get any bigger, I do. I don't ever feel that huge until I see a picture. I'm at the point where I know I look like I should deliver tomorrow, but I still have a month to go. If you've ever been pregnant, you know that strangers think it's always a good idea to comment and ask questions.  

Just this last week I had an inservice at work with about 200 of my co-workers.  We were being trained on a new way of being evaluated. The trainer asked everyone who was wearing black to stand up and potentially be called on to answer a question about what we'd been learning. Soon after I stood she turned to me and in front of a room of 200 asked when I was due, then commented on how bad it stunk that I was having a "Christmas" baby, as it would be so "unfair" to my child. Yes, she did. I kept my mouth shut, but was very surprised that she felt it was appropriate and necessary to call me out, not to answer an academic question, but simply because I was pregnant.

Later on, I thought back on it, and had numerous co-workers come up to me afterwards with surprise about what that lady had said, and how I'd taken it well. In my head I was thinking, like we planned to have a "Christmas" baby? Do you know how many people would do nearly anything to just have a baby in the first place? What if we'd battled infertility?  This lady had no idea, and although there was no ill will on her part, she really didn't think before she spoke.

This really had me reflecting on what I have to say too. Our words have power, and once we put something out there, we really can't take it back. If we're lucky we can realize our mistake, apologize, and be forgiven...but not always. James 1:19 says, "Know this my dear brothers, let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger."  I'd love to say that this verse can always be true about me, but who am I kidding. I make mistakes just like anyone.

I hold no negative feelings towards the lady at the inservice, but I sure want to do a better job of keeping James 1:19 as a focus, so I don't do the same to someone else. Our words have power, let's use them to build others up, and leave it at that.


I recently got this cardigan from Shein. I know it's way more spring/summer appropriate, but I love the embroidered trend and couldn't help myself.  The quality is phenomenal and I definitely think it looks like it cost way more than it's price tag say.  Wearing it with a simple top, skinny jeans, and my booties worked really well to transition it to fall, but I know I'll wear it like crazy once spring roles around again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

How to Wear: A Blanket Scarf

Now that the temps are cooling down, I've pulled this from the archives and updated it to share with you all today.  Blanket scarves are such a fun trend, but knowing how to style them can be tricky. Today I'm going to show a few ways.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Style Inspiration: Classic Black

Recently one of my favorite combos has been a black top and bottom, with a colored layer and boots. Today I thought I'd share some of my favorite looks to give you some fall inspiration.


 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 /  6

Monday, November 9, 2015

Nesting

Honestly, clothes have have been about the furthest thing from my mind lately. I have been in serious nesting mode! I still get dressed everyday, I promise, but a lot of my outfits are similar to this one: All black with a colored layer has seriously been my jam lately....that and I have about four shirts that fit....

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Neiman Marcus with Shop at Home

This post was created in sponsorship with Shop at Home, although all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I'm not going to lie, I miss having a waist, normal dresses, skirts, and being able to button shirts. My due date is about a month away, and it has me dreaming about post-baby clothes, as well as our first outing we'll have as a family of four to Christmas Eve Service.

Today I thought it would be fun to come up with some outfit inspiration from Neiman Marcus, while saving some money with Shop at Home, where you can earn cash back for all your purchases!

Neiman Marcus has a ton of sales going on right now.  You can get up to 60% off in the better departments and 40% off in all other departments, as well as an extra 30% off clearance prices. It was fun to think about how we'll dress this season and save money in the process.

For myself I picked out this beautiful blue dress, which if you look close have very flattering pleats, this fun cardigan with leather elbow patches, a great heel, and my favorite: a Kendra Scott necklace.

For Brian I found a great jean, which is more his style than dress pants, a sharp sweater, shirt, and tie combo, with a great brown dress shoe.

As much as Grant loves his super hero clothes, he's a fan of dressing up for church, so I found him a great jean, sweater and chambray, and a nice boot too.

I'm so excited to get to dress Hannah! I adore this dress and these shoes. I'm not sure if she'll need a cardigan or not, as she'll be in a carrier while we're outside.

What about you? Do you dress up for Christmas? Even if you don't be sure to check out Neiman Marcus, while saving some money with Shop at Home!

Christmas Eve Service


Me: Dress /  Sam Edelman d'orsay pumps Kendra Scott necklace / Cardigan 
Brian: Jeans /  Tie /  Sweater 
Grant: Shirt / Jeans /  Boot / Sweater 
Hannah:  Shoes / Dress

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

White Plum


I am definitely all about cozy clothes right now, so I'm loving this tunic White Plum sent over. The length is great and I love the color. It will be great as my belly continues to grow, as well as after Hannah gets here. It comes in about a million colors, so I'm thinking I might need to get another one soon. : )

I have a number of things from White Plum and love them all, the quality and price always has be going back for more. If you haven't tried them yet, I'd definitely recommend it!



Tuesday, November 3, 2015

34 Week Bumpdate


Weeks along: 34 weeks Thursday

Size of the baby: 18" long and 4 3/4 pounds, about the size of a cataloupe

Must haves: I still have not really been having any crazings

Sleep: I'm still sleeping ok, I probably turn from one side to the other a few times each night.

Baby Movement: We are are the point where my whole stomach moves when she moves, it's so crazy!

Gender: It's a girl!

Name: Hannah Elizabeth

Weight Gain: 18 pounds

Challenges: It's an effort to do quite a bit at this point and I haven't been to the gym in a few weeks. I feel like an old lady when I get out of bed in the morning, but five more weeks to go! I also have started to swell in my legs. I kept my compression hose from last time around and am hoping they help. I have a pretty good feeling my three recent pound of weight are currently the water I'm retaining. Also, on an important note, Hannah hasn't turned yet and this has me a bit anxious.  I have an appointment on Friday and my doctor is going to do another ultrasound to see if there's anything interfering with Hannah turning, and if not she's going to try to turn her externally.  Prayers Hannah can figure it out and get turned are greatly appreciated. I know having a c-section will be ok, but I'd really like to avoid it if possible.

 Best moment of the week: We are are the point where if Hannah were to come early, she's pretty much developed, she'd just be a peanut. I'm thankful for that, but hoping she stays until I'm due, just to make it easier for her.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Life Lately

Here are some pictures from Instagram I thought I'd share to give you an update on life lately.

I'm getting pretty antsy for Hannah to get here and have been having so much fun picking out clothes for here!  This outfit is from thredUP, originally Gymboree, and I found the shoes on Jane. I don't plan on decking her out each day, but I'll love fun, comfy outfits like this!

I've been really excited about my thredUP finds for Hannah, you should totally check out their kids' department and use this link to get $20 off your first purchase.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Watch me Whip...

Ok,  so our family basically listens to Christian radio or Sports Radio (when Brian chooses), so I was a bit surprised when Grant starting to randomly sing "Watch Me Whip, Watch Me Nae, Nae." I do know of this song because it's a current favorite amongst my 7th graders.  Come to find out, Grant's class dances each day and recently they started dancing to this song, and the actions are on the video they watch through their Smart Board too. Oh, to be a fly on the wall while 17 Kindergarteners "Whip and Nae, Nae." Sometimes a song comes out that you just have to embrace.  The song is silly, but totally appropriate, and you just need to go with it. Oh, and whip and nae, nae.


First off, I'm loving this cardigan from Shein.  I really wanted it when I started seeing it pop up in boutiques last year, but the price point was higher, I'm so glad Shein came out with their version, and it's less than $25!

I'm also super crazy about these boots (similar) I just got from thredUp! (Use this link to get $20 off your first purchase.) There were only $40, and I had $30 in credits, so $10 boots? Yes, please.  There are Borns, all leather and in like-new condition. I've already worn them a handful of times and know they'll definitely be a go-to this winter.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

#thestruggleisreal

Now that it's my third trimester I've entered the home stretch and I couldn't be more excited. I am however really beginning to realize all the things I took for granted before I was carrying a watermelon around with me all the time. Here are some #thestruggleisreal moments I've been experiencing lately:

  • Trying to put on shoes- zippers, buckles, and pull on boots are a lot of work. I love the boots I have on today, and they are great once on.....it's just the "putting them on" part this is hard.
  • Trying to get into my truck when another car is parked right next to it.  Squeezing isn't a possibility.
  • Huffing it into school each day.  What is normally an easy trip from the parking lot has be huffing after the 20 steps I need to climb. No bueno.
  • Dropping something on the ground and having to pick it up. Need I elaborate????
  • Taking a bunch of pills to help ease the side-effects of pregnancy such as my still persistent morning sickness and my awesome acid-reflux
  • Sleeping and ALWAYS having my left arm fall asleep and constantly feel like pins and needles
Seriously, I am going to really remember the little things I take for granted once Hannah is here.  All these crazy side-effects are worth it, but I sure won't miss then!



I'm really excited about this poncho from Shein.  It's sure soft and comfortable.  Is you can see it is definitely room, it's perfect for my growing belly and I'm hoping I like it just as much once Hannah gets here. I love the idea of it with my white jeans, but think it'll be great with leggings or normal denim too.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Maternity Essentials


Now that I'm nearing the end of my pregnancy, I've been reflecting on what I really needed to purchase, vs. things I could do without. My hope is that this can help you from making some of the mistakes I made.  Back in June I posted about my Maternity Capsule wardrobe. I really thought I was being smart with my purchases, but I did make a few mistakes.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Grant

This. Kid.  We have been having so much fun together. He picked this outfit out on his own, by the way.  Dad got the shirt and sweater last year on sale, and with the temps dropping, it's time to break out the fall clothes.


My remote for my camera has been on the fritz...it's the second one I've bought from Amazon, and I really don't want to by a third.  Instead Grant has been helping me take pictures. I still stick the camera on the tri-pod, but he's been standing on a stool and taking the pictures. As long as he's game, I think I'll put of getting a new remote.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thankful

Sometimes I feel like I forget to take the time and think about all the good I have in my life.  Today I thought I'd share some things I'm thankful for.  I think taking the time to write it down, helps us recognize all the good we have.

  • I'm thankful for Grant's teacher.  He is having such a great year and is really learning a ton.  The kids is practicing writing sentences and words and reading at the top of his class right now. Although we did work some this summer, he teacher is really moving him forward!
  • I'm thankful for a handy husband. He's had a big list of things he wants to get done around the house, like re-staining the deck. Sometimes his timeline and mine don't line up, but I'm so thankful he can do so much.  BTW the deck is done, and it looks great!
  • I'm thankful for my mom.  She's such a great grandma to Grant and I love that they can spend the day together when he doesn't have school and Brian and I have to work.
  • I'm thankful for a healthy pregnancy. I feel huge, but at this point have only gained 15 pounds and Hannah is measuring right where she should be. I feel like I'm at the point where I am no longer walking-I'm waddling, but that's ok. Just 7 more weeks to go!
  • I'm thankful for my job and co-workers.  I really work with some great people and feel appreciated on pretty much a daily basis.
  • I'm thankful for a loving God, even though I mess up more than I'd like.  He's always there with me, and that's pretty cool!


I'm pretty much in love with this dress, in fact I bought it in three colors. It's currently $8 and there are a few sizes and colors left, you should definitely check it out! I love the ease of it here with my denim jacket and wedges. It's now about time to put my wedges away for the season...but my heels aren't fitting, so it's probably going to be boots from here on out.