Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dear Winter, you can go away now.

It wasn't until I became a runner that I started to not like winter. I did learn this year that I really do enjoy running in the snow. Something about the challenge. But I'm not big on running in the dark. Safety reasons! And it's just always dark!

So I'm finding other ways to keep me busy (at the expense of the laundry)...

1. Turbo Jam

2. ChaLEAN Extreme (borrowing from my mom! What I use for most of my weights).

3. The good ol' Tae Bo. Doesn't that throw you back a good decade??
This is a video of Marie and Jack doing Tae Bo. Cutest thing ever. Please excuse the messy house.

4. Enjoyed some time on my parents "new" old style stationary bike.

5. Of course ZUMBA!

6. I like to try out some workouts from pinterest. (The link will take you to my pinboard with all sorts of workouts).

7. And whenever I can, I run!

I did head out on the 4-miler one warm day a couple weeks ago and it kicked my butt. Running is its own thing. I'm in fantastic shape, but I'm not gonna be running a half-marathon on Turbo Jam workouts. Sooo ready for spring!

The bottom line is, we often use winter as an excuse to get out of shape and gain weight. At least I always use to! But there is no excuse for such things! There's enough workouts on pinterest to keep you busy for weeks. And you don't need any equipment! Or very little. Try Walmart, TJMaxx, Marshalls, or Aldi if you need something.

Or turn on the Zumba station on Pandora and dance!

I'm anxious for spring, but I'm not gonna sit around and wait for it!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Around the House: Master Bedroom Edition

Today marks 2 years since we signed the papers that made this beautiful Conor House ours!

Not only have we not once regretted it, but we've been flooded with blessings ever since. Every once in a while I pray for floods of blessings on the previous owners because it was a sacrifice to them to sell us this house. As fellow believers, I know they followed God's leading and I'm so so so grateful they did!

To celebrate here on the blog, here's some shots of the newly painted master. A romantic master bedroom is good medicine for the married soul.

Our happy place.

Poor lighting, but I LOVE these curtains. We plan to paint the furniture eventually.

Awesome book shelves we got from the inlaws! I don't know how we lived without them for so long!

More bad lighting, but this is a picture my MIL made for me to give to D.

Our caricatures.

So many people contributed to this haven and we are so grateful! There is still plenty to do (dressers to paint, decor to hang, mirror to find) but we are so happy!

More multitudes on Monday...

  • Lofted ceilings
  • Crumbs under the table = well fed babies
  • Dishes to wash
  • A shared bed
  • The color purple

Friday, January 25, 2013

Beating the Blahs {Part 2}

{Part 1} Valentine's Crafts
{Part 2} Around the House

The thing about beating the blahs is the "blahs" actually fight back. I have no real desire to attack house projects. But I'm determined to make a list anyway to hopefully motivate me. It really helped with {Part 1}. I actually have a craving for a craft every day now! So here's to hoping...

1. Build shelves in the storage room for DVDs. Oh yay, Derek already did that! He's the best. (I'll share details in a later post).

2. Add Kempton to the walls of the boys' room. Jack's name is on the wall so I'm planning on taking out the "A" and the "C" and using the "J" for Jack and the "K" for Kempton and making mini collages around them. We'll see how that goes.

3. Paint the little mirror black and hang it.

4. Line the fridge shelves

5. Purchase tiles from the Habitat ReStore for behind the kitchen sink. Hang.

Only 5, you say? Yes.

I told you, the blahs are trying to beat me down, so I'm taking it slow.

And I can't think of anything else at the moment that doesn't involve more money than we've got. Even these are pushing it.

I am giving myself a deadline as much as I don't want to bc otherwise this stuff will probably never get done. Expect completed updates by Valentine's Day at which time I will post the next "Beating the Blahs" post.

{Part 3} Spring Cleaning (Look for this post in February!)
{Part 4} All Things Homemade (Look for this post in March!)

How are you "beating the blahs" of winter?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2 Keys to Losing Weight.

If you know me, you know I'm on a journey toward a healthier life. A big part of that right now is losing weight.

By the grace of God, I have had consistent victory over the sin of emotional overeating for 2.5 months! And in that time I've lost 17-18 pounds!

Praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow!

The Kempton weight and the Jack weight are gone. Now for the long haul... losing the Marie weight. I'm halfway there! 17lbs to go.

Why is this time different? First and foremost, God started it. I've struggled with eating my whole life. Finally, through a series of little events (or maybe better... God interventions), I truly repented and am no longer a slave to food!
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
My sister-in-law said it wonderfully in her post entitled THE Key Ingredient to Getting in Shape.

The #1 key to losing weight/getting fit/becoming healthy is...

A right relationship with the One True God. 

Shake your head if you want, but it is fact. I've lost weight numerous times in my life, but every time I found myself obsessing even more about food! This time... this time I don't obsess over what my next meal will contain. I don't run to food the moment I'm discouraged or angry or tired or happy! Sure I struggle and often want to do those things, but I've found victory in Jesus! The sinful desires are all but gone and I'm finding contentment... fullness in Him alone.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
While true repentance seemed to happen all at once, change is always a process! Daily I am in the Word and in prayer. Daily I am running hard after Him. That is the only way.
How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103
Looking for key #2? My sister-in-law talks about this all the time, and since I came to my senses by the grace of God, I finally started listening!

The #2 key to losing weight/getting fit is...

Lift Heavy Weights.

There are a number of other "keys" to weight loss success but following the most important key of getting right with the Lord, this has had the most impact for me.

You may recall I trained for and ran a half-marathon before getting pregnant with Kempton. During that 5 months of training I lost a total of... wait for it...

THREE pounds.

The problem? Well, I wasn't watching my calories for one. But mostly, I never lifted weights! I basically did nothing but run.

Now I haven't even started training for my next half yet (scheduled for June!), and I'm already dropping the pounds. With the help of my SIL, eating right, and lifting weights, I finally have a metabolism that works with me rather than against me!

Oh, and I'm already running at a faster pace. Woot! Thank you, muscle!

No more excuses. Get to it.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Thankful Heart

This is how I will live the width of my life... with thanksgiving.

  • Hot tea
  • Baby girl prayers
  • Warm glow of kitchen lamp
  • Clementines
  • Curious baby blues

  • The smell of homemade cinnamon bread
  • Warm sheets
  • Chunky toddler legs
  • Girly conversations
  • Sibling love

Linked up HERE.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Family Verse 2013

In 2012, this was our family verse...

Hopefully in the near future I (or Derek or both) will be sharing the "infinitely more" God has been doing in our lives that I was looking forward to seeing back when I wrote this post. Waiting on God's timing for that post because it's gonna be a big one!

Yesterday I came across this verse on Pinterest of all places...

It is just so exactly what we needed after some ideas of stepping out in faith have come up lately. We've deemed it our family verse for this year.

It's definitely no accident that the verse immediately following our family verse is this...

How awesome is it that right after we're commanded to give cheerfully, God says He's got us covered. Love when He does that!

Do you have a family verse? Or a "life verse"? I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Must-Do Pins

Just have to share a couple of pins I've tried that totally worked! I didn't take any of my own pics so I'll just share the pins and vouch for them.


My Story:
Just before leaving for PA, I used a bunch of green onions and dropped the white roots into a little cup with water and left it by the sink. I don't have a good place in my house for plants to get sun so it got zero sun. I seriously cut them all the way down to the white and when we got back a couple weeks later, I had green onions spilling onto my counter!

What I Learned:
Something a gardener should probably think to do... remember to refill the water. And I feel confident that mine would look quite a bit healthier if they had a little sun. But they have served (and continue to serve!) me well.

Next up...

My Story:
Just did this yesterday and was blown away at how easy it was! Seriously like 3-5 minutes process. Grab peanuts, toss them in a food processor, and hold down the button. Watch peanuts turn to peanut butter in minutes! And you can add any kind of flavoring you want!

What I Learned:
I don't know about pricing. I mean, peanuts can be pricey. And don't make the same stupid mistake I did and just buy the cheapest. I usually check labels, but I honestly didn't think peanuts would have high fructose corn syrup and xanthum gum in them?!? Seriously, I just thought they were peanuts. You live, you learn.

A little encouragement... according to, the Kroger brand honey and dry roasted peanuts (that I used for this) get a B- while Jif creamy peanut butter (what WIC lets us get) gets a C and is labeled "One of the worst products in its category."

I'm not really encouraged by that at all.

Moral of the stories...
Try these pins and learn from my mistakes! You will not regret it! :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"the 26.2-mile victory lap"

So I claim to be a runner but I have never run a marathon.

... Checking the horizon ...

Nope, don't see any out there either.

Even after finishing my first half-marathon (actually we were right around mile 12 when Derek and I started talking about it), I had absolutely no desire to shoot for the mother of all races.

The more I read about running, and the more I run, the less aversion I feel toward a marathon.


I still have no plans of running a marathon any time in the near future.

The reason?

Not because I am scared to death of it - that only makes me want to conquer it!
Not because I doubt my ability to do it - I know I could!

No, the reason is because ((unless you are Derek!)) training for a marathon is basically a full time job. And my current full time job (wife and momma) is SO much more important.
"Like surviving labor, crossing the finish line of a 26.2-mile race is a testament to perseverance, discipline, dedication, and a few other multisyllabic words often found on inspirational posters hanging on office walls. The race is a huge accomplishment, of course, but it's really the months of training that change your life and perspective. During the no-glory, no-spectators training miles, you discover how hard you can push yourself, how persistent you need to be, and how to call forth motivation when you'd rather just call for a pizza." -Run Like A Mother
Obviously, I'm going to be running a marathon someday. 2, actually.

When the kids are older, in school full time, or maybe totally out of the house, I will be training for and running a marathon. And then I'll do it again because I'll know what to expect and how to better prepare for it and race it.

So who's with me in 10... 15... 20 years??

(The title to this post was taken from Run Like A Mother)

Monday, January 14, 2013

My heart will sing no other name... Jesus.

My Mother-in-law gifted me with Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts - A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. It's taken me a couple of chapters to get used to her writing style, but it didn't take nearly that long for me to realize that reading this book was definitely in God's plan for my life this year.

I've linked up to the author's blog before but I am planning on being more committed to sharing a list of gifts God has given me every single Monday (here on the blog. Daily in my journal). It'll take different formats and be different lengths, but every Monday prepare to see God working in my life :)
  • The sound of 3 babies breathing evenly during a silent nap time
  • A huge pile of laundry
  • White stuff covering our patiently waiting garden
  • Only black numbers in our bank account
  • A husband with a heart to give
  • Our church family
  • A pastor who isn't afraid to preach Truth
  • Radical repentance
  • Being overcome with thanksgiving for that repentance
  • Worship with hands lifted high
  • Singing this song next to the man of my dreams...

Linked up -

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Beating the Blahs {Part 1}

We spent 10 days in PA thoroughly enjoying making memories and eating my MIL's amazing homemade yumminess. And even though we did nothing but eat, sleep, play games, and get spoiled I still need a few days to recover once we get home. Isn't that typical of any vacation? Add a huge bin full of amazing gifts from the inlaws, and I need a couple more days to figure out what to do with it all!

What a dilemma to have.

We are so spoiled.

Nope. Blessed.

So anyway, I'm getting back to normal. Got all the Christmas decor packed away once again, much to Marie's dismay. So now, what to do? To keep from feeling *blah*, I decided to scour the internet (read: Pinterest) for valentine crafts to do with the kids. Here's some ideas we plan to attempt. I'll document how it goes :)

(The above idea is totally meant to be!)

The kids also got a craft book from their Honeygram that we will be getting ideas from. I've never been big on valentine's day, but my baby girl thinks all hearts represent her (hearts=love=MarieLove). I cannot wait to have my house adorned with MarieLove crafts!

For {Part 2} I'm going to Beat the Blahs by tackling random projects around the house that I never take the time to do. I know you can't wait to find out what I plan to do. I'll let ya know when I figure it out :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013 Goals: Running/Fitness Edition

We have a lot of goals related to finances, ministry, each of the kids, personal, etc. But those don't all necessarily need sharing. I want to share my running and fitness goals for the obvious reason of accountability, with a side of future bragging (on Christ) when I succeed (by God's grace)! And I'd love to connect with more runners to keep me motivated, learn new things, and just make new friends!

And since I love running so much, I just want to talk about it!

First for fitness:
- Reach pre-Marie weight (give or take 5lbs bc I'll still be nursing) by my birthday (April 22)
- Be able to lose/maintain without constant calorie counting
- Save for and purchase space-saving weights and chalean videos

- Speed training
- Half marathon in June under 2 hours
- 500 miles by December 31

I received Run Like A Mother for Christmas from my MIL (she does an excellent job of keeping my library stocked!)...

and am loving it! I highly recommend it for new, seasoned, and in-betweener runners. If you know me on Facebook, you've seen lots of quotes from this book. It's motivational and entertaining. Read it!

Do you have any running goals for this year? I'd love to hear them! And I always love a little competition ;)

Pennsylvania hills in the snow don't scare me! Well, at least this one didn't.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Beautiful Christmas

We're thoroughly enjoying our extended PA visit! Right now I'm chilling next to Derek, watching Love it or List it while the babies sleep. Watching TV is a fun treat :)

We worked really hard to focus our Christmas on Christ and I think we were successful. The key: less busy-ness. More quiet-ness. Last year I literally was stressing about how to focus Christmas on Christ which totally took away from celebrating Christ. So this year, if I ever started getting overwhelmed or stressed, I just stopped. If it doesn't get done, it doesn't get done. Which resulted in being able to do a lot more Christ-centered activities with the babies.

We successfully read from the Jesus Storybook Bible and hung an ornament every single night of Advent! Go us! And we got treats to all the neighbors we planned to. French toast casserole on Christmas morning was a fail, but Jesus was okay with that :)

We didn't give our kids gifts (or each other) not only because we're totally broke, but also because they get plenty from the rest of the family, and we don't want them thinking Christmas is about getting gifts. It's about giving gifts. So when they are old enough to earn their own money (which will be this year for Marie and probably Jack through chores), they can buy each family member a gift and we'll buy them gifts.

That's our approach to Christmas in a nutshell. Since Christmas is over and I'm much more focused on bounding into the new year, I won't go into detail. Bottom line, we truly enjoyed celebrating Jesus and both the big kids seemed to, too!

Hope you all had an amazing Christmas! Leave me a link to your Christmas recap so I can catch up!
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