moms, please.

can we make a deal, friends? when i am postpartum and feeling like my body is still no longer my own, please for the love of all things right in the world, do not offer me whatever it is you are selling. i love you, but you’re so missing the point. i saw a sweet and incredibly gorgeous mama recently, post about overcoming shame and the struggles that come with the amazing ways your body changes during and after pregnancy. and i’ll be darned that the FIRST COMMENT wasn’t about plexus. this comment-er even mentioned parts of the body that this woman needed help with. WHAT???? and many others followed–peppered in the long list of encouragement to this mama. but no–there’s just no reason for this. just don’t. you’re being gross.

while we are making deals–what the heck is up with mom’s anyway? i mean, as mentioned previously–EVERYBODY has an opinion. (note – it’s most hilarious when someone without kids has given me tips, or advice or an explanation as to why i’m experiencing a particular pregnancy symptom…or OH MY WORD the reasons why we conceived a girl). you name it. breastfeeding, where and when to do it, not to mention how long. vaccines. organic food. your choice of birthing rituals. which—just what. i know i’m still on the other side—we can say what we will, but i’m pretty convinced this little girlie is going to very much decide on her own when she will make her appearance. sure, we can plan and prepare for a specific scenario, but the fact is; we just don’t know what will happen. we’ve never ever done this before, and my birthing journey will be unique to me. we are researching and taking classes wherever we can, so that we can be the most prepared to make a decision when something causes us to deviate from our, ‘plan.’

but there are some strong opinions. wowsers. and so many decisions to work through. we are over halfway done at this point, but we’ve had pediatrician meet and greets, birthing classes (and oh, so many more to come!), infant cpr, a hospital tour, day care interviews (awkward), and many other appointments. not to mention, we’ve already contracted with our blood cord bank, and i’m preregistered at the hospital for a time somewhere around my due date. and there’s just so much more to do!! like figure out where this babe will sleep! install the carseat! launder—EVERYTHING!

i applaud any mama for just making it to the end of pregnancy. this is no joke! solidarity mamas. right?? we are all in this together. we can not do this alone and we need each other to speak life and encouragement into one another in a way that only we can.

whew!! go mamas!! you’re all amazing!

bingo!

i was presented with the task recently, of helping with games at a wedding shower for my fabulous friends, camila and steven. i am not a game person, so this was a total challenge for me. ha! i tend to be cynical, especially, when it comes to wedding or baby shower games, because they are usually just a big bunch of cheese. CHEESE!

i wanted to do something special and unique…and something guys and girls could both participate in and have fun with. after much research on the interwebs, i decided to make up my own game. i remembered playing this type of ‘human bingo’ game before, where we were given a list of qualities or traits, like, ‘blue eyes’ or, ‘born oustide of Texas.’ we had to find people within the room who matched these descriptions, and have them sign our bingo card.

this was so easy to make, in photoshop and it only took me about an hour. i had a lot of fun thinking up the clues, and although i was unable to make the shower, i heard it was a great hit! and the couple got to keep some of the bingo cards for a keepsake. i should mention, that they are having a destination wedding in florida, this july.

here is the card, ta da!


(photo compliments of jana gross)

thanks for reading!

easter!

might as well have been called ‘eater’ this year, because all we did was EAT!

the weekend was off to a great start saturday morning when it was time to dye eggs! i dont’ know if i’ll do this with my kids (jury’ s still out) but it was fun to get in the spirit of celebrating.  also,  for our family get together dan and i were assigned to the easter egg hunt, so i was set on making it super special for our nieces!

i confess. i have never once, in my life, boiled an egg. it’s true! i had to search online how to do it, ha! but i knew i wanted to use real eggs and knew there had to be a way to dye them without store bought chemicals. :)

it’s actually really easy, just time consuming. the basic solution is 1 pint of water per 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. so if you need 3 pints to fill your pan…you add 6 tablespoons of white vinegar, and so on and so forth.

i made three dyes. the first was using 3 tablespoons of turmeric. this one is the easiest because you put the raw eggs IN with your water and vinegar and bring to a boil, and boil for about 30 minutes. it was a gorgeous yellow-gold color! these came out the best.

the other two dyes i made, i used beets (4 cups worth) and red cabbage (also four cups worth). for these, i boiled the eggs and let them cool. same method as with the turmeric, except you leave the eggs out and just boil the veggies. everything must be at room temperature for best results when you get ready to soak the eggs.

  

the blue eggs were done by soaking eggs in the cabbage solution overnight (or for about eight hours). the purple eggs were made with the beet solution, soaking for about 30 minutes. i was pretty happy with how they all turned out!

sunday morning, we started off our day with cinnamon rolls, and then attending services (and working them, ha!) at our church, soma austin. we had a wonderful morning reading from 1st corinthians about the resurrection of Jesus and the gospel.

we realised saturday, that we had no lunch plans for easter, after all! so we sent out a big tweet and ended up with about 14 guests to easter lunch! we had a lot of brisket to share, and it was just enough, with everyone who came. i took a few pictures but none of them came out very well, so here’s a picture of my attempt to make our silverware look like carrots, ha!

we ended our day on a wonderful note, hanging out with my two sisters and their families. i LOVED getting to watch ruby and isabella hunt eggs! they were SO excited!

  
we had a beautiful dinner of potato salad, ham, salmon, goat cheese, tomatoes, bread…etc etc. with the family. amy made these awesome bunny shapes with the napkins. it was so fun!

what did you do for easter?

thanks for reading!

jonah.

last night, the man and i read the book of jonah. i love reading the narrative parts of the bible, and it’s short length of only four chapters made it a great way to spend time in the word. the cool thing is that we had been planning on reading it last night, and it came up in conversation while we were hanging out with our friends jana and larry.

side note: it is so good to have someone/someones that you can consistently and intimately ask and be asked about how scripture is changing your life. we do this pretty well in our small group, but there’s something about that one on one (two on two?) setting that makes it really personal and good. we are so blessed that we have both, this time every week with the gross’, and also with our small group to talk, because it spurs us on to want to practice our daily rhythm of reading and praying when others around us are so excited about it. love! end sidenote.

SO, jonah. we aren’t done with it, but here are a few things that have stood out to me so far.

1 jonah’s prayer.
in chapter two, jonah prays a most beautiful prayer to God….inside the belly of a big fish. (that’s so weird to think about….stinky, too. yuck.) towards the end of it he says, “those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.” i love the way he so simply but powerfully states this. it’s a LOT to chew on.

2. what must have the other passengers on the boat been thinking?
they weren’t bad guys, and they were definitely hesitant to throw him overboard. jonah had told them that he was fleeing from God. can you imagine what it must have been like for them, to see the storm calm after throwing him into the sea? v 1:16 says, “Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.”

3. what the heck does the word, “tempestuous” mean?
the author uses this word several times in describing the nature of the sea. here are some words that will give you a better picture of what was happening: disturbance, uproar, agitated, distraught, turbulent, disorderly, violent, and commotion.

4. jonah’s pride.
maybe this seems obvious to you, because let’s face it. when we are prideful, the wrong kind of fear of God is created. he ran from God, and got eaten by a giant fish, but he repented right? he went kicking and screaming into God’s will….right? let’s talk about what happened after jonah got to ninevah and proclaimed the message God had given him.

in 3:10, we read: “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.”

let’s understand first (most of this thanks to my history-buff of a husband) that jonah going to ninevah, was sort of like a jew going to proclaim a message to nazi-germany. the people of ninevah were known for their bloodthirsty war-like way of life. i mean, i’m just saying…it would have taking me getting thrown up by a big fish to get there, too. if you were in this situation (or the more modern day WW2 reference), chances are you would have probably seen and experienced a lot of bad things. you would want and desire for these people to get what was coming: the wrath of the almighty God.

jonah cries out to God in chapter 4, “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly,and he was angry. And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

“gracious,” “abounding in steadfast love,”…those are really pretty words. but it says jonah is angry? what’s up with that? jonah thinks he knows what is best for the country. jonah has his blinders on and is so narrowly focused on these horrible people getting what they have coming, from God. jonah is upset that God has shown compassion on this people who have changed their ways. in ch 3 it says that after jonah proclaimed God’s truth, “the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.” from the greatest to the least. even the king declared, “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”

i still have a lot to learn from this book. a question dan is challenging me on as we move forward in the text, is, ‘how does this point back to Jesus?’ woah! more on this later.

i hope this gives you some things to think about. a little salt to make you thirsty for more of what is happening in jonah. :)

thanks for reading!

february 5th.

daniel and i tied the knot back in february and it was amazing! we had a small wedding at the driskill hotel, and it could not have been more perfect. we had an amazing time celebrating with our community here in austin, and while we wished we could have invited the whole world, it was the right choice for us.

the day itself presented a few challenges. of the few folks we did invite from out of town, most didn’t make it due to weather…even my dad almost didn’t get here! my groom had the flu, and my jewelry didn’t arrive in time, but all of these things faded away when we focused on the purpose of our day: love.

we had a beautiful, intimate ceremony. dan asked his best man, adam, to share the story of Jesus before we got started, and then our great friends larry and jacob co-officiated our vows and challenges that ushered us into marriage.

we had some of the greatest people in the world standing with us, too. it was one of the toughest, most prayed-through decisions choosing our bridal party. i absolutley couldn’t stop at 3, so i also had 5 honorary bridesmaids, too. :) it was totally awesome and i couldn’t imagine the big day without any one of them participating. they were all a part of our story, and that was so important to us.

yeah…they were seriously great. they prayed with me and encouraged me. bryan, one of the groomsmen, got dan packed for our trip and dressed for the wedding amidst his haze of flu-y sickness. i found out later that day that bryan had just come off an overnight shift at the hospital at 7am. what a great friend! he took such good care of my man!

my sister, mary, directed the actual wedding and i was so grateful for her. we sat down only the week beforehand, so that i could drill into her every single intricate detail and plan that i had worked out with our vendors and she handled it like a pro.

our music was amazing. our friends andrea and darnell played guitar and violin and played several songs darnell had actually written for our community. incredible. everything tied together so well.

the reception was nothing short of fabulous! because it was a small scale, we decided treat our guests to high tea. the driskill is really good at this, and did not disappoint. we had tea sandwiches, lemon tarts, scones with the oh-so-fabulous cream, full tea service and champagne any way you wanted it. we had a BLAST celebrating afterwords!

it really was a great day. i got to marry my best friend. marriage has been a blessing beyond anything i can articulate. insert lots of smiling here. :)

i couldn’t finish this post without mentioning our amazing photgrapher, shari henson. she and her second, clair, were so much fun to work with! they went with the flow, and stayed cool and calm the whole time. i appreciated this so much because things can so easily get crazy on your wedding day. she was super professional and knew exactly what she wanted to shoot. she had asked me a ton of questions before and captured some really great moments. i am so thankful for her, and for her friendship, and just that she’s my sister in Christ. that bond is something else. we get each other.

here are a few pictures from the big day. :) thanks shari! you should all hire her to do your weddings, engagements, portraits, newborn pics, family photos, i mean really anything you can think of!


this picture is really special. one of the reasons we chose the driskill is because it’s a place we go on dates regularly. it’s right next door to the ritz, we can always find parking, and it’s fabulous! katie is our usual waitress, and this is our ‘spot.’ it’s where we first said our i love yous, and i want to marry yous.


i crack myself up right here, hehe! this is our friend adam, giving us a toast before eating the amazing german chocolate cake. it was hilarious and heart felt. and that’s totally an envelope of honeymoon $ falling out of dan’s vest. ha!


this pretty well sums up how i was feeling. i was SO excited to see dan! i was having fun getting ready with my best girls, and we had just had delicious cinnamon rolls. yumm. i love it!


that’s my man! we decided to do a little shoe change for the reception. i had also done a hair style change. we were having a blast with the photogs and our hair stylist. :) great times!

we’ll have more pics soon. thank you, everyone, near and far, for loving us and making our day so wonderful!

breakfast for dinner!

tonight we took a meal to our friends kelly and stephen, who just had a bebe…samuel! he is awesome and we had a great visit!! i have been wanting to make breakfast for dinner all week, so i tried out a new recipe that was a major success!

southern grits casserole (or breakfast pie!)
1 pound sausage (we used pork)
3 packages of instant grits (cook as directed. we did ours in the microwave using 1 1/2 cups of water)
4 eggs, lightly beaten, for scrambling
1 cup of shredded cheese (we used a sharp cheddar)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, softened

basically you cook the sausage, the grits (i added the cheese and butter to these while hot), scramble the eggs, and combine together in one big bowl adding the 1/2 cup of milk. cook at 350 for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

i also made strawberry butter (softened butter and strawberry jam combined. i tend to go heavy on the jam part, but you can do 50/50, or to your liking.), and drop biscuits.

drop biscuits
2 1/4 cups of bisquik
2/3 cup of milk

mix together in a large bowl, then spoon a handful of dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet. cook at 350 for about 7-8 minutes. these are so easy and quick!

top it off with some oj and champagne, or a glass of apple juice, and you’ve got yourself a really super breakfast for dinner!

the man, helped me pack up all the food to take to our friends…this cracked me up!

 

enjoy! thanks for reading!

showerz.

my sister, mary, threw me an amazing bridal shower this weekend at la patisserie, complete with lavender macarons and champagne, yum! here are a few pics. :)


my amazing bridesmaids!


the entire bridal party! so glad everyone could come!


i felt like i had been built into a crate and barrel fort!


serving ware! yesssss.


amy made me a picture book of the day we found my dress. :)